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Digital transformation of health and social care: Welfare technology acceptance and knowledge among current and future healthcare and social care professionals




1.10.2022 - 30.9.2025

Range on year:

0.49 FTE | 2023

Project leader at FDV:

doc.dr. Simona Hvalič Touzery


Javna agencija za znanstvenoraziskovalno in inovacijsko dejavnost Republike Slovenije (ARIS)

Research activity:

Social sciences

Research Organisation:


Citations for bibliographic records:


Health and social care are witnessing a profound technological transformation in which welfare technologies (WT) are becoming a necessity for health and social care professionals (HSCPs). The way HSCPs perceive and accept WT depends on their exposure to education and training. However, studies indicate that education programmes do not necessarily ensure that graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to use WT in their work. In the future, the lack of knowledgeable HSCPs will be particularly accentuated in Slovenia, where a long-awaited Long-Term Care (LTC) Law – which includes WT – will finally be put into practice. There are some evidences showing that recommendation of HSCPs often results in patients' and care recipients' decision to become WT users. As they are important motivators, HSCPs can contribute significantly to whether a new technology-supported service succeeds or fails. Yet, there is a lack of research that would empirically test WT acceptability among them. The overarching aim of the project is to address these complex issues related to the acceptability of WT (t.i. telecare, telehealth and socially assistive robotics) among current and future HSCPs from sociological point of view. To this end, building on existing technology-acceptance models the project will use a mixed-methods approach and triangulation to accomplish the following: • Develop a socio-technical theoretical framework of WT acceptability that will be empirically tested. • Explore the knowledge gap in formal university education among HSCPs and students about WT and knowledge needs regarding WT. • Review existing measurement instruments and develop an instrument with which to measure attitudinal, technological and contextual factors that affect the acceptability of WT among current (registered nurses, social workers and social gerontologists) and future (students of nursing, social work and social gerontology) HSCPs and apply it in the first national survey. • Examine relationships among measured factors using qualitative and quantitative data. • Empirically validate the conceptual model of WT acceptability and prepare guidelines for (1) the deployment of WT in LTC and (2) implementing WT content in university curricula. This project addresses topics that are highly relevant to general social sciences and emerging national and global societal challenges under the UN SDG3 goal - Health and Wellbeing. We particularly address LTC, an area in which Slovenia faces many challenges that have gone unresolved for decades. The project represents an important breakthrough in the field of WT acceptability, focusing on current and future HSCPs. The project will (1) fill critical conceptual and data gaps, (2) encourage Slovenian policymakers and those who will implement the LTC Law to initiate evidence-based practice and (3) motivate Higher Education Institutions educating HSCPs to address the knowledge gaps on WT. Furthermore, by incorporating emerging technology (social robotics), this project goes beyond the WT currently in use. The project team has extensive experience with large-scale research projects in LTC, informal care, healthcare, telecare and telehealth interventions and quantitative and qualitative methods. The project partner Angela Boškin Faculty of Health Care, Slovenia is also known for its research and development achievements that contribute significantly to the development and positioning of nursing. The quality and feasibility of the project will also be ensured by the long-standing collaboration with key stakeholders in the field of LTC in Slovenia and the close involvement of renowned experts, such as Scientific Advisory Board members from the University of Jyvaskyla, INRCA, Vilans, TU Wien, Robert Gordon University. The project is supported also by the CEO of NET4Age-Friendly, a network of researchers from 44 countries, who sees the project as a great asset to this network.

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