• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Digital push could save welfare millions: report

TT/The Local/og · 14 Feb 2014, 11:02

Published: 14 Feb 2014 10:02 GMT+01:00
Updated: 14 Feb 2014 11:02 GMT+01:00

With the baby boomers about to retire in swathes, the costs for elderly and health care in Sweden will soar in coming years. But a new report, commissioned by broadband lobby organisation Svenska stadsnätsföreningen - SSNF, has argued that faster internet and moving several key welfare services online could save Sweden millions of kronor.

"In order to safeguard our welfare system, we have to develop and introduce new working methods with digital solutions," SSNF CEO Mikael Ek said in a statement on Friday.

The private research institute Acreo took on the challenge to crunch numbers, using the municipality of Västerås in eastern Sweden as a guinea pig for a product dubbed e-Homecare (e-hemtjänst). It then looked at what kind of savings a significant IT push within the in-home care and care-home services could bring.

Applying the results from the Västerås dummy on national level, Acreo found that Sweden could save an estimated 53 billion kronor ($8.2 million) from now until 2020.

For example, care providers would swap to telephone conversations between health staff and patients, with the option of video and picture messaging. Care home residents would be offered an overnight security camera, rather than having a night warden patrol the corridors. The online package would thus cut transport costs, save time when healthcare staff talked to the patient via video rather than making old-fashioned home calls, and save on the cost of a warden.

The report found that the elderly care home residents in Västerås were generally receptive to the new digital additions, provided they were voluntary.

Even offering the new digital services to a tiny slice of all welfare users could save money, the reported underlined. For example, if ten percent of in-home-care recipients and care-home residents used the new package, a small municipality with a population of 8,000 would make a saving of 2-4 million kronor a year. A city of half a million could save up to 63 million.

If as many as 90 percent of recipients said yes to e-Homecare, however, the savings would swell to 34 million for the smaller town and 590 million for the city, the researchers argued.

The report authors were quick to point out, however, that their work was only based on one area in Sweden and the budget-saving predictions should not be used as a benchmark for any local politician ready to seize upon the digital reform idea.

"No municipality should make a business plan based on these figures, they only give an indication," Marco Forzati at Acreo told the TT news agency.

The entire reform would hinge, however, on upgraded broadband across Sweden. The researchers said 40 percent of Swedish households at present had such access, while that percentage dropped in rural areas and among house owners.

"Digitalization should be one of our top election issues," Ek added. "But many of our politicians have so far showed far too little interest in these decisive questions for the future of Sweden."  

TT/The Local/og (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Masked men on mopeds shoot four in Malmö
Censorgatan in Fosie is a relatively quiet residential area in Malmö. Photo: Google Maps

At least four people have been injured in a shooting in southern Malmö.

78-year-old crowned Sweden's best grower of oilseed rape
Gunnar Henningson celebrates his well-deserved victory. Photo: Svensk Raps

"This is one of the happiest days of my life,” said 78-year- old Gunnar Henningson, after being crowned Sweden's "Rapsmästaren".

Sweden to bring in tighter rape laws to up convictions
Mari Heidenborg, president of the Sexual Offences Committee wants to drop the Swedish term fro rape Våldtakt. Photo: Claudio Bresciani / TT

Swedish lawmakers are to propose adding a controversial consent clause to the country’s rape laws.

Sweden's centre-right voters up for deals with populist SD
Jimmie Åkesson with Centre Party leader Annie Lööf and Moderate leader Anna Kinberg Batra. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

A growing majority of voters for Sweden’s four-party centre-right Alliance support working with the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats.

Coeliac disease not caused by early weaning: Swedish study
Carin Andrén Aronsson now plans to investigate why Sweden has such high levels of coeliac disease. Photo: Polarbrod

Mothers who stop breastfeeding early are not to blame for their children developing gluten intolerance, a new Swedish study has found.

Zlatan look-a-like storms pitch as Man U take on champions
A grinning Zlatan pushed the man away with the palm of his hand. Photo: YouTube

Zlatan fever has hit the UK, with a look-a-like storming the pitch on Saturday only to be palmed off by the grinning Swedish star.

Russian Sweden Democrat aide resigns over suspect deal
'Egor Putilov' had access to all areas of the Swedish parliament: Photo: Riksdag

A Russian-born political secretary for the Sweden Democrats has resigned after making six million kronor ($0.7m) in a property deal with a St Petersburg businessman.

Trump an 'embarrassment' Springsteen tells Sweden
Bruce Springsteen tells SVT talk show host that Trump is an 'embarrassment' to the US. Photo: SVT/Youtube

Rock legend Bruce Springsteen has described Donald Trump as an embarrassment to the United States in an interview on Sweden's Skavlan talk show.

'World class' developer told to leave Sweden over admin slip
Software developer Tayyab Shabab. Photo: Private

Tayyab Shabab has a house, a job and pays tax in Sweden, but he has now been told he must leave within three weeks.

Police release men held over bomb threat on refugee home
Police officers outside the building. Photo: Robert Nyholm/TT

UPDATED: Two men arrested after a bomb threat was made against a home for refugees in Boden, northern Sweden, have been allowed to leave custody.

Sponsored Article
Let's Talk: a personal Swedish language tutor in your pocket
National
Muslim teacher leaves job after not shaking male colleague's hand
Sponsored Article
‘I view the world in a different way now’
Travel
Why we adore autumn in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 21st
Blog updates

7 September

Svensk or svenska? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! My inbox is full of questions :-). Here’s one about when to use “svensk” and…" READ »

 

23 August

A Summer in Sweden (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"For our first year here in Sweden we decided to have all our holidays in Sweden.…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
'Creating a sense of home': Collective living in Stockholm
National
Stockholmers hunt killer badger after attack on neighbourhood hipster cat
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
The Local Voices
Why this Russian developer is committed to helping refugees - with tech
National
Six key points in Sweden's budget plan
The Local Voices
How a Swedish name finally made recruiters notice this Iranian's CV
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: 'So much more than beaches'
Gallery
Property of the week: Luleå
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Gallery
People-watching: September 16th-18th
Culture
Why Swedish TV has given these kids' trucks a sex swap
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
National
TIMELINE: Everything you need to know about the Julian Assange case
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Gallery
People-watching: September 14th
Politics
Why Sweden is putting troops on holiday dream island Gotland
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
The Local Voices
'What I mean when I say: I came here to blow myself up'
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Society
VIDEO: Are Swedes that unfriendly?
Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden’s ’a-kassa’
Features
INTERVIEW: How Arthur the jungle dog opened hearts and minds
Gallery
Property of the week: Smögen, Västra Götaland
Society
Sweden's ancient forest tongue Elfdalian fights for survival
National
Where Sweden's foreigners are from
Gallery
People-watching: September 9th-11th
The Local Voices
Shakib, 23, works and pays taxes — but will Sweden let him stay?
National
Watch this Swede roll his kayak without spilling his beer. Respect.
Gallery
People-watching: September 7th
The Local Voices
'Swedes are polarized on refugees - it's the welcome mat or the exit door'
National
WATCH: Yes, this Swedish rising star really is Abba legend's grandson
The Local Voices
'Whenever I apply for jobs I’m treated like an unwanted stranger'
The Local Voices
Is Swedish bosses' ignorance keeping refugees out of jobs?
2,970
jobs available