We are no longer passive recipients of welfare products. We increasingly expect services based on our individual needs, where we can do more ourselves with an ever-higher expectation of availability which is convenient for us. Digital technology offers major opportunities in the health service area, but the technology itself is less important than the added value it can provide. Needs and solutions are the basis of the design of the services; with the user in focus, we ensure that we have value-adding solutions for actual needs. We need to solve this in partnership with individuals who have different experiences, knowledge and backgrounds. That is why business, the public sector, civil society and research are all natural elements in our process.
We solve societal challenges together
Through working together, academia, business, society and the public sector can address one of the greatest societal challenges we face. If we are to overcome challenges such as an ageing population, where fewer people must support an increasing number and to satisfy rising expectations on the accessibility of welfare, a different approach to the utilisation of public resources is required. In the current environment, there is a need to develop and implement innovative, digital solutions to provide essential high-quality health services in a response-efficient and user-friendly way. It is here that digital technology can increase the individual’s ability to do more himself/herself and facilitate contact between the individual and the welfare system. The starting point in DigitalWell is to design new services to meet actual user needs, with increasing the individual’s self-efficacy at the heart of the process. With our strengths and excellence in Värmland, we can make a difference.
Why DigitalWell is needed
Before now, not many small and medium-sized companies have taken part in development projects with the public sector. This represents both lost business opportunities for companies and fewer innovative solutions for the public sector. Major causes for this were identified in preparing for the project:
- There is no cooperative arena in which companies can develop, test and verify challenge-driven innovation, jointly with researchers and the public sector.
- There are no effective structures and procedures for joint development work
- The traditional way of procuring and implementing new technology is seen as a limitation on innovation, both by the public sector and by the companies
- New digital services fail all too often because they are developed without systematic user/citizen involvement
- New digital services often fail to combine user-friendliness with data security
- It is also common to have problems with interoperability (both in functioning with existing IT systems and in the interfaces between occupational groups or interaction among various players) in the public sector environment
- There is also no systematic situational monitoring and knowledge exchanges with other regions and countries.
A long-term approach which creates the conditions for growth
DigitalWell is run by the Stiftelsen Compare (Compare foundation) in Karlstad, in the Province of Värmland, Sweden. One of Compare’s most important tasks is to stimulate collaboration among different actors with the aim of creating conditions for growth for the Region’s ICT sector. DigitalWell will act nationally and internationally as a beacon attracting new companies to the Region. It will inspire entrepreneurs to invest in starting new companies within the field of digital welfare services and encourage existing companies to develop new products and services in the field.
The Project’s start involved a collaboration between Compare, the Municipality of Karlstad, Värmland County Council, Karlstad University, Region Värmland, Dalarna County Council, Region Dalarna, Friskvården i Värmland, Almi and Tieto. We are also involving companies and organisations in the concrete innovation projects that we are running.