Challenges to Welfare and Growth
The Public Welfare Technology Fund is a government initiative, administered by the Danish Agency for Digitisation – an agency under the Danish Ministry of Finance. Denmark is facing a number of challenges relating primarily to demographic developments in the coming years: The population is aging and the workforce is shrinking as more people retire than those entering the labour marked - not least in the public service sector. Further, public expenses to health care and health services are increasing as more and more people are diagnosed with a chronic disease or having age-related heath ailments. In addition, the international financial crisis has imposed the Danish government with an imminent challenge in terms of keeping public spending down.
”Thus, the public sector consistently needs to develop and reorganize its efforts in delivering public welfare in accordance with demographic challenges, economic restrictions and public expectations.”
Welfare technology offers a solution that is not about hiring more people or letting employees work harder and, thus, be worn down at a faster pace. Instead, welfare technology enables more cost-effective and faster working procedures, while aiming to improve the quality of public services.
Potentials in welfare technology
Welfare technology is a way to provide public services that meet the specific needs of the recipients, often by enabling a much higher degree of empowerment and self-determination – for instance, supplying the necessary equipment for ill people to monitor the health condition on their own or by taking education or rehabilitation courses in their own home via teleconference or gaming technology.
From the point of view of the public employee welfare technology is a way to reorganize and optimize work routines and administration whereby resources can be directed towards assisting recipients of public service. This is the case for instance when different technological devices, such as elevation slings, are used to move weak or handicapped citizens or when language translation is done via teleconference which reduces time spend on transportation, waiting and administration.
The comprehensive and far-reaching welfare system of Denmark forms a potential basis for great resource savings through welfare technology. However, in order to benefit fully the technology has to be tested, implementation refined and then expanded to all relevant sectors and institutions. This is the idea of the Public Welfare Technology Fund: investing in projects that utilize new and innovative technological solutions to increase productivity and efficiency in the public sector.