Checklist for better collaboration in welfare technology
Is it possible to solve the challenge with an increasing proportion of elderly people who are using the welfare technology to a higher degree? To some extent the answer to the question is “yes”, as welfare technology can be of assistance, but it is only part of the solution. Introducing welfare technology is a complicated process which requires that both end users – the elderly themselves – and other parties in the municipality and the technical aids centres are involved in the entire process. Researchers at Mälardalen University (MDH) have therefore developed an interactive checklist to improve collaboration between different parties when a new idea is hatched in the domain of welfare technology.
Silvia Bruzzone is a Senior Lecturer in organisational management and is responsible for the project by developing this interactive checklist, which has been given the name IVRIS. The checklist is designed to work as a collaboration tool which can combine the existing resources, methods and guidelines which for example the municipalities and the technical aids centres use. Silvia Bruzzone highlights the significance of finding arrangements and tools to work with collaboration in innovative processes that involve many different actors.
“One can ask why we have decided to create a checklist. In fact, today many organisations are already managing complex activities, but often there is a lack of integration of the relevant skills and actors. So, the aspiration of the checklist, with its simple principle of “don’t forget this point”, can support complex processes, while at the same time ensuring that the various perspectives of the process are taken into account,” she says.
The checklist guides you step by step and reminds you simultaneously about important aspects that should be considered when the area of welfare technology is further developed.
“For instance, it is important not to forget the various users, such as employees and end users, who can also be involved in reference groups or go over which changes and consequences are connected to the new idea. IVRIS is a service-oriented tool for cooperation which is possible to use when combining existing resources, methods and guidelines,” Silvia Bruzzone explains.
Involvement is essential from many aspects
To involve both end users, the elderly and employees in the municipalities and technical aids centres, is essential from many aspects, according to Silvia Bruzzone.
“This is partly because the various parties should be able to influence how the welfare technology is presented and introduced in the organisation and partly so that they can influence how the technology is used in daily life, how it is checked and how one can follow up on the use of the technology,” she explains.
Makes collaboration easier between different parties
Thanks to the IVRIS checklist, Silvia Bruzzone together with her research colleagues Lucia Crevani and Michela Cozza want to contribute to create easier innovative processes, which will involve the relevant parties in an efficient way and allow them to benefit from their contribution so that the new technology is used in the best way possible.
“Another development need exists in the actual collaboration process between a municipality and a technical aids centre for instance. These are organisations that both work to develop knowledge and experience regarding new technology and how the elderly use it, but who traditionally have not cooperated with each other. Thanks to the IVRIS checklist these collaboration process can be easier and it can be simpler to make new ideas a reality about how welfare technology can be developed and be of benefit and value to elderly persons, says Silvia Bruzzone.
This is how the IVRIS checklist works:
The starting point is a new idea in the area of welfare technology. Here one identifies the problems that the idea is designed to solve, the needs it will fulfil and who will benefit from the idea.
In this step one describes how the operational task is done today, and which changes and consequences are linked to the new idea. One also looks at the specific prerequisites and possible costs involved, and if any additional parties should be involved.
A work group is formed with the parties that have been identified, as well as other roles or skills that are deemed necessary. The goal is to further develop the advantages of the idea, specify the problems, requirements and eventual challenges.
The idea is further developed from an organisational and users’ perspective. The goal is to clarify which consequences the idea can have for every specific unit in an organisation and for other stakeholders, and to translate this to various aspects of the operations concerned (finance, coordinated care and nursing logic, IT-system requirements, security).
The project in brief
IVRIS has been developed by researchers at Mälardalen University in cooperation with R&D (research and development in Sörmland), Eskilstuna Municipality (Vård- och Omsorgsförvaltningen - Health and Social Care Management) and Hjälpmedelscentralen in Eskilstuna. The project is funded by Vinnova and was completed between 2018 and 2021.
Representatives for the elderly have been included as project members together with care staff. The aim of the project was to develop ways to cooperate with and between organisations to improve how new technology was introduced in welfare services.
Global sustainable development goals
Research in the IVRIS project is linked to several of the UN’s Global Goals for sustainable development, notably Goal number 3, Good Health and Well-Being, Goal number 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities and Goal number 17, Partnership for the Goals.