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Using technology to improve social care – why a culture change is required



Annette Sand

Berlingske Tidende

1 October 2013


The Danish Minister of Economic Affairs, Margrethe Vestager, has been clear that more work must be done to increase the use of technology in Denmark’s welfare system. According to PA Consulting Group, however, one of the greatest barriers to the use of technology in social care is culture. “In the UK, we focused far too much on the equipment used for the treatment of patients, and thus ignored the cultural element. In doing that you end up with suppliers that are capable of delivering the products, and are good at it, but nobody wants the products as neither employees in the healthcare sector nor the patients really believe in the value of the products,” says PA social care technology expert, Steve Carefull.

Steve refers to PA’s work in Hampshire, UK, to expand the use of telecare and improve how new technology and services were received by patients and staff: “In Hampshire our goal was to change attitudes toward the technology and measure the impact of the technology on users; for instance, would telecare help them feel safer in their own homes?”, says Steve.

Steve believes that enabling employees in the social care sector to communicate the functions of the technology and its benefits to patients has been a critical to the programme’s success.

According to PA welfare technology expert, George MacGinnis, the focus on equipment, both in Denmark and abroad, should be changed: “When spending DKK 100 million on a project, it shouldn't be about how much equipment you get for your money. You shold rather focus on what this achieves in terms of improving the care provided,” says George.

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