The Norwegian official definition of Welfare Technology – Official Norwegian Reports NOU 2011:11, Innovation in care;
“Welfare technology is primarily technological assistance that improves the safety, security, social participation, mobility and physical and cultural activity, and strengthens the ability of individuals to fend for themselves in everyday life despite illness and social, mental or physical disability.
Welfare technology can also act as support to their families and otherwise help to improve availability, resource utilization and quality of service provision. Welfare Technological solutions in many cases can prevent the need for services or institutionalization.”
Today everyone talks about the topic of welfare technology and how technology will revolutions the welfare care in Norway.
For the last 15 years, I have been working with digitalization’s of business processes for major Nordic enterprises, and the latest years within specialist health service in Norway with digitization’s. One of the major challenges of today’s Welfare technology is that it is fragmented, and its lack of a National or International Standard. Both Sweden and Denmark use welfare technology than Norway. But in Sweden one focus more on old technology solution such as “cooker- and security alarm”
Denmark thinking more new and are more forward-thinking minded with the use of new technology. The focus in Denmark is on the use of technology at home so that the individual resident can manage more independently in his own home
UK has in general adopted welfare technology in a more advanced way than Norway. Nevertheless, the focus here is also on security alarm as a base. This is something that has been established on a large scale.
One of the key goals of welfare technology or any kind of use of technology is the simplification of the business process.
The health care services in Norway is increasingly getting more and more complex and the population grows older and older. The number of 67-year-olds and elderly in Norway is intended to grow to 1.4 million by 2050. Norway can get six times as many old over 90 years, while at the same time there are fewer professionals to feed and care for the old ones. The aging wave is obviously presents major challenges for Norway in the future. At the same time, the aging waves are on the stairs, and per Statistics Norway, the health and care sector will lack 57,000 health professionals and 28,000 nurses in 2035. This means that 1/3 of all student in the future need to be educated and trained to work in the health care sector. This is of course not possible, nor is it desirable.
Therefore, in the future, the municipality of Norway must utilize health technology so that people can stay longer at home and that the population can manage themselves than today.
This mean that the work process within the health and care sector must use and implement welfare technology in a wider extend than today. Moreover, with technological advancements, every municipalities have got an opportunity to make their work processes even simpler. This, in turn, helps municipalities to reduce the cost and resources required for each work process.
Per a general study, most leaders within the health care sector suggest that simplifying work processes is one of the most strategies for their sector, in the coming few years. As the aging wave grows the complexity of its health care services grows as well.
All research reports in recent years emphasize lack of competence in change management, communication and interdisciplinary interaction. The national research reports highlight the lack of competence in the municipalities with change processes. To succeed in implementing welfare technology, key personnel in the municipality must have this competence or acquire it in another way.
Welfare technology is not something that goes over, but will only execute in the future, therefore, change skills in the municipalities will be necessary in the future.
To succeed in implementing welfare technology, the municipalities must also be clear about the organizational challenges that exist, thereby focusing on the areas and challenges that need to be resolved before moving on to the implementation phase and using welfare technology.