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Technical writer. Former NHS OT and software developer in health tech. I enjoy open dialogue & I’m interested in helping make health & social care better!

An article and case study combining three of my favourite things: cycling, older adults, and OT.

I love bikes. I love riding them, building them, cleaning them, the whole nine yards. The sheer ingenuity of the wheel simply doesn’t get old for me.

I also love seeing people get on a bike that gives them joy. Finding the right bike for the occasion is magical (it’s why I have (cough) five bikes) and finding the right bike for the person is the same. It is a happiness to which nothing else compares.

I’m an Occupational Therapist (OT) by training. Quick…

Photo by Vanna Phon on Unsplash

Originally written for The OT Magazine (Jul/Aug 2020)

Modern healthcare and (to a lesser extent) social care are hugely augmented by technology. We can provide people with the longest, healthiest lives ever lived by humans because we are able to combine clinical expertise and human empathy with the muscle of computerised information processing. Humans and computers are good at fundamentally different things, so there is no concern about one replacing the other. …

Originally written for One HeathTech: a community about diversity, inclusivity, openness, and kindness for under-represented groups in healthtech, healthIT, digital health, biotech and medtech.

Photo by Stephan Eickschen on Unsplash

Let’s talk about career paths. Except, instead of thinking of it as a brick path that you follow, envision it as deliberate steps you take, one foot after another, in a grassy field. …

If we all did one thing a little bit more, I think we could make a serious change.

I must confess I’ve lured you here under false pretences. Yes, I will absolutely explore what, in my opinion, better elderly care might look like, but (spoilers) it’s not just providing more exercise & balance classes for the over 65s to mitigate falls risks. I think better elderly care entails an overhaul of society. If this sounds ambitious, good. We should be ambitious. We have the means and the desire to treat our elderly (globally) more equitably, which should be in everyone’s…

A pseudo-professional quest for the most esoteric socio-medical terms.

SNOMED CT is a funny beast. The CT stands for Clinical Terms, and SNOMED (as it’s generally known) is basically a computer-comprehensible language for medical terms. It’s part of the way the world is going to digitise health, through turning information in people’s medical notes into structured data.

If you’ve ever watched Casualty or 24 Hours In A&E, you’ll know that people do all sorts to themselves, through accident or intent. Humans have an unfettered propensity to do themselves a kaleidoscopic amount of damage, from the inane to the rather boggling…

Photo by Tolga Ahmetler on Unsplash

We are a health technology company. We make technology, broadly, to improve quality of life for humans. There are two reasons why championing equality, diversity and inclusion are important to us:

  • For the people we serve: tech teams do not often represent the societies they are impacting. We want to make sure we get the views and input of the people who use our product, so that it works well for and supports everyone, rather than just a subset of the population.
  • For us as a company: two of our core values are that “we care” and “we succeed together”…

If you’re someone who prefers using separate terminal and code editing programs rather than a full IDE, setting up how to open the WebStorm editor from the CLI isn’t as straightforward as with Atom or VSCode. It’s just a little bit different!

  • Press `⇧` twice to open the search window
  • Type “Create Command Line Launcher…” and hit enter

You’ll see this dialog box:

Whatever you type in there, your computer will run it as a script. You’re saying to it: “hi please store this thing webstorm inside my local binary files”; binary files are computer-readable but not human-readable, and when…

Why the United Kingdom needs one, and how it’s different to a Royal College of Carers.

Caring for other humans is of paramount importance to human society. It can be a huge undertaking in a multitude of ways, requiring a blend of compassion, humour, practicality, and professional skills. Despite this, care workers are often under-valued both financially and by society. So why aren’t we treating the people who do this job as well as they deserve?

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Taken from the Department for Health and Social Care’s “Work in Social Care” advertising campaign, this still shows a lady caring at home for an individual who uses a wheelchair. The subtitle reads: “You have to have quite a strong heart and a strong head for this job.”]

What’s the difference between a carer and a care worker?

Do you know someone who receives care? The chances are you probably do or have done in the past. You may well also know…

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: fingers point at a laptop screen. Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash]

At Birdie, we are committed to building a society where people can age with confidence. We want to help people explore ageing on their own terms, keeping individuals happier, healthier, and support them to live at home independently for longer.

A big part of addressing this involves understanding the wider picture of contemporary health and social care provision. Not only do the aims expressed above form a central tenet of the NHS’s Five Year Forward View, but at Birdie we strive to harness tools to improve interoperability (ensuring our system works well with other systems). …

What is error handling?

Building software that does what you want is great. Building robust software which pre-empts potential issues and can recover enough to give you (as a developer or a user) feedback is even better.

Error handling in programming refers to how errors are anticipated, detected, and resolved. It is a language agnostic concept, and a positive way to approach your code; there’s always something that could break, which means there’s always something to potentially improve. For developers, the key outcome is evolution from “code hits bug, code crashes” to “code hits bug, code finds an alternative route…

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