Welfare technology is not a magic wand that fixes all challenges in the healthcare system

This article was actually written by an engineer!

In recent weeks, there have been many horrific images of poor elderly care in this country. Fortunately, the majority of aged care is fantastically good. We have an armada of "super Marios" who make a heroic effort every single day! More and more people are now seeing that the wave of the elderly, the wave of dementia and all other waves are rolling over an already strained healthcare system, and we know that there is a need for thousands of new heroes for the healthcare system. 

What scares me is that many people believe that welfare technology will create a self-service solution - "almost without health workers". On the contrary, we need both more health workers and we need a lot of welfare technology. Welfare technology is just a tool – “There is no magic wand that fixes all problems.” Perhaps I myself have helped to create this image, but let's agree that it is a wrong image.

The key is to have time for learning and understanding

Think about this - When you get a new computer system at work, or a new machine in the factory, time and money are set aside to learn how to use it. When we throw "a bunch of new technology" into the healthcare system and hope that the already overworked heroes in the healthcare system will fix the problem, perhaps we should take into account that even more resources are actually needed during a period of run-in. Here we have to practice - there are employees with a good understanding of technology and health work, who can utilize technology to create gains, - not the technology alone.

Those who believe that the technology, viewed in isolation, will reduce the need for health workers, must invest in some adult training. Just take a reality check: Despite all the technology we have pushed into administration and information systems, is it a fact that there have been more, not fewer, in case processing and administration? A manager in a company is required to take an HSE course - this is also important, but how many of today's healthcare workers have a documented course in welfare technology? We must understand that the introduction of new technology within nursing requires time for training and time to understand what the wonderful technology can do - only then will it be able to provide value and benefit.

I often talk to the heroes of the healthcare system – the enthusiasts who want modern tools and knowledge to do an even better job. The Health Personnel Commission says that we need an investment in knowledge - we need educational services delivered to the door, where the health workers work. We have such a great need for their services that we do not have the opportunity to "take them out of production for longer periods" - BUT it also means that we have to have more people to "take care" of the health workers who are on courses or education.

Imagine if the welfare technology was so good that we had a user-friendly gadget that the health workers have a good understanding of using, and which could save the health workers 500 hours of unnecessary routine work a year? This is where welfare technology has the greatest potential - technology cannot make important care and care tasks disappear, but can remove unnecessary routine work - this is where technology is extremely good at solving challenges.

In short, the health workers must have more time to learn how to use and understand how we can utilize the technology - and we who make technology must become better at understanding what the health workers actually need.

I think that if a municipality is going to buy welfare technology, it must be easy to understand what the gain is,
and here is some advice from an engineer - ask if the investment answers yes to these three questions.

Quality gain - are tools that clearly provide better care, safety and care
Financial gain - which can be used to employ more health workers
Better municipality to live in - Residents who look forward to growing old in this municipality...

It is ALWAYS about people….technology is just the tool!

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