What are the consequences of digitalizing the care of senior citizens?
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Digital innovation is often viewed as the way forward, leading to massive digitalization efforts in various sectors, both public and private. This digitalization effort is usually driven by a desire to cut costs so that the business can run more efficiently. This is also the case for Berntsen, who, if able to cut costs by just 10%, could save Stavanger County Kr 20 million. However, cutting costs should not be the only factor when considering digital innovation, especially in the public sector, where the county is directly responsible for the well-being of hundreds of senior citizens. This means that the impact of Berntsen on the well-being of its senior users is central to determining whether it is a good investment. Berntsen is able to perform needed supportive behavior for the senior citizens’ need for competence and autonomy through its activity program. However, Berntsen distinctly lacks functionality around satisfying the need for relatedness. This means that human connections need to be found elsewhere, which may be difficult if the user is already lonely and does not have anyone close to them. However, when Berntsen is paired with someone who has the desire to increase their fitness, then Berntsen will do a good job of continuing to motivate them without having to occupy the time of health professionals. Berntsen is overall a good innovation that can help those who need it, despite it being more limited in functionality than it might appear. However, some other solutions will need to solve the problems facing the sector for the care of senior citizens.