Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Understanding and analysis of users' needs for the development of e-services for integrated social and health care in the aging society

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
5.03.00  Social sciences  Sociology   

Code Science Field
S215  Social sciences  Social problems and welfare, national insurance 

Code Science Field
5.04  Social Sciences  Sociology 
integrated technology-based care, telehealth, telecare, informal carers, older chronic patients, user experience, usability
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (15)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  52570  Tomaž Burnik  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2019 - 2020  14 
2.  31339  Tina Dolenc  Sociology  Technical associate  2021 - 2022 
3.  23424  PhD Vesna Dolničar  Sociology  Researcher  2018 - 2022  333 
4.  22639  PhD Simona Hvalič Touzery  Sociology  Researcher  2018 - 2022  497 
5.  33824  Lea Lebar  Sociology  Researcher  2019 - 2020  162 
6.  38470  PhD Miha Mazzini  Anthropology  Researcher  2018 - 2022  326 
7.  39482  Nikola Milojević    Technical associate  2018 
8.  36854  Boštjan Mur    Technical associate  2018 - 2020  12 
9.  27574  PhD Andraž Petrovčič  Sociology  Head  2018 - 2022  290 
10.  31975  PhD Katja Prevodnik  Interdisciplinary research  Researcher  2019 - 2022  57 
11.  39479  MSc Peter Pustatičnik  Economics  Researcher  2018 - 2022 
12.  38019  Mojca Šetinc  Sociology  Technical associate  2018 - 2022  49 
13.  15336  PhD Mitja Štular  Telecommunications  Researcher  2018 - 2022  70 
14.  10155  PhD Vasja Vehovar  Sociology  Researcher  2018 - 2022  840 
15.  27897  PhD Jelka Zaletel  Metabolic and hormonal disorders  Researcher  2018 - 2022  645 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0582  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Social Sciences  Ljubljana  1626957  40,399 
2.  0312  University Medical Centre Ljubljana  Ljubljana  5057272000  77,422 
3.  6916  TELEKOM SLOVENIA GROUP  Ljubljana  5014018  557 
Longevity and the increased prevalence of chronic illnesses have generated the need for new and sustainable models of smart integrated care. There is a growing body of evidence that telecare and telehealth can improve integrated health and social care, which we refer to as integrated technology-based care (ITC). Slovenia is lagging in ITC implementation and is still in infancy regarding the adoption of telehealth and telecare services, with only a few pilot interventions. Moreover, there is a lack of research that would empirically test the acceptability, usability and the benefits of ITC for the older chronic patients (OCPs) and informal carers (ICs). This project will build on (1) evidence-based state-of-the-art research on ITCs and on (2) currently available ready-to-market telecare and telehealth products. Three strands of services, implemented by the co-funding organization, shall be investigated: sensor-based telecare service, telehealth service and ITC. The project will contribute to the long-term acceptance and facilitation of new avenues for cost-effective deployment of ITC. The project addresses an overarching research question on how telecare and telehealth services should be designed and delivered within health and social care to implement ITC in a way that is accepted by and beneficial for OCPs and ICs. To answer this question, the project will: evaluate – using a comprehensive mixed-method user-centred approach the complex needs, user experience, acceptability factors and psychological outcomes related to ITC uptake among different OCPs and ICs with the primary objective of engaging and empowering the OCPs and ICs; develop personas and a segmentation model that will enable different stakeholders and end-users to select the most optimal and personalised set of ITC, that reflects OCPs’ and ICs’ needs and characteristics; design a set of guidelines for different stakeholders regarding how to foster acceptance of ITC across different stages of adoption from the user experience perspective. This project makes significant contributions by: Developing innovative acceptance models and models of psychological and health outcomes of the use of ITC for OCPs and ICs. This approach will result in an understanding of OCPs’ and ICs’ needs, abilities, social support, motivations, values and usefulness of ITC, which are relevant for leveraging the acceptance and benefits of ITC. The findings will result in new design and deployment guidelines for ITC. Testing ready-to-market telecare and telehealth services to strengthen the applied foundation of ITC research. By evaluating ITC from the end-users’ perspective using a novel integrated assessment framework, the project will support policy makers, service providers and end-users regarding their choices in the allocation of limited resources. Validating the results with intense involvement of end-users (OCPs, ICs) not only within laboratory settings but also with an intervention study conducted in real-life settings. This will give better insight into how ITC can provide positive outcomes to its users. The project brings together over two decades of internationally recognized interdisciplinary research by the project team and its experience with large-scale international projects (FP5-7, H2020, Erasmus+, Interreg), as well as R&D in the area of chronic disease management, long-term care, assistive services, mobile applications for older people and telecare and telehealth interventions. The quality and feasibility of the project is assured by the strong involvement of excellent foreign scholars, ITC programme managers and practitioners who all have long-standing cooperation with the project team members. Two key ITC stakeholders in Slovenia are involved: University Medical Centre Ljubljana, the largest hospital in Slovenia, and Telekom Slovenije, which is a leading telecommunications service provider in Slovenia that offers ICT aging-in-place solutions to the Slovenian market.
Significance for science
The project will provide important scientific outcomes warranting further scientific developments in at least two regards. First, by advancing and reinforcing the multi-disciplinary perspective on the acceptance and outcomes of integrated technology-based care (ITC) by older chronic patients (OCPs) and their informal carers (ICs), it will have an important impact on the fields of sociology of ageing, gerontechnology, ambient assisted living (AAL), human­computer interaction (HCI), and social and medical informatics. Second, by pursuing scientific rigor and excellence in focusing on end-user perspectives, it will provide new conceptual basis for the design and development of innovative mixed-method toolkits for tracking changes to meet the increasing demand of new types of needs in an expanding target base of users of ITC. The project addresses one of the most intriguing questions regarding the social challenges and impacts of ITC, which is how the acceptance and use of ITC is related to positive outcomes for end-users in terms of long-term care provision in an ageing society. The project will advance the knowledge in this respect by investigating an under-researched, but highly relevant question of what are the needs, abilities and specific contextual factors of a heterogeneous group of OCPs and their ICs for a long-term acceptance of ITC. Combining user experience (UX) research with a systematic review of ITC models will enable the advancement of innovative socio­technical models, explaining the uptake and outcomes of telecare, telehealth, teleconsultation used within ITC among OCPs and ICs. The scientific viability of these models will be based on the collaboration of a multi-disciplinary team of excellent home researchers and foreign experts in different relevant fields: acceptance of technical and social innovations in the field of AAL (Prof. Sixsmith), gerontechnology and HCI (Prof. Boot), health and social informatics (Prof. Taipale). The second valuable scientific impact of the project involves the assessment of ITC, which is based on an original mixed-method approach to R&D and combines principles of user­centred and iterative design with different types of end-users. Thus, the intervention study will not only provide a time perspective on acceptance factors, use and outcomes of ITC among the OCPs and ICs in home environments and the mediating role of active participation of health professionals, but it will also deliver a valid toolkit for monitoring of the actual and prospective ITC development over time. In fact, the integration of conceptual and methodological advances will lead to a more sustainable and long-term uptake of ITC. It is also expected to leverage new ideas with a high potential for technological and market innovation. Conceptual, methodological and empirical deliverables of the project are expected to be published in top scientific publications (at least 3 scientific articles in journals that are ranked within the top 10% and 7 additional international publications).
Significance for the country
Numerous direct impacts on various societal levels are expected as a result of this applied project: (1) for the co­funding organisation, (2) for the economy in general, (3) for individuals, (4) for the state/society. Impact for business partner: A direct impact for the co­funding organisation will be provided based on the results of examining the needs of end-users for ITC in terms of (i) providing insight into market segments of ITC innovations, (ii) identifying the factors and challenges that should be tackled when designing ITC, (iii) determining key performance indicators to evaluate viable ITC equipment, (iv) designing workable strategies for multidisciplinary cooperation and integration between stakeholders involved in introducing ITC to the mainstream market. Overall, these impacts should minimize the financial risks and improve the capacity to deliver an innovation to the market. Impact for companies and economy: The findings of the project will help expand the integration and strong commitment of social and healthcare institutions and professionals to improve joint care interventions with more sensitivity to OCPs and more concrete attention to cope with the complex needs of their ICs. Project’s outputs will generate ideas for new business models in the ITC market and/or for innovative solutions in the telecare and telehealth markets. Telekom Slovenije could form an industry ecosystem with other Slovenian (insurance) companies, hospitals, health centres, for sustainable commercialization for delivering ITC from providers to end-users. The project will also inspire further applied research with public and private care service providers and/or other business partners in Slovenia.  Impact for end-users: The research activities are foreseen to contribute to the quality of life of OCPs and their ICs. Through delivering applied knowledge on the end-users’ engagement with ITC in lab and real-life conditions, new models of ITC could be conceived, and provide guidance for a more timely, cooperative, and multi-professional coordinated care actions. Moreover, roadmaps for inclusion of OCPs with low digital skills and for more personalised care and support planning could be delivered. In turn, such outcomes will increase end-users’ wellbeing and enhance and support a sustainable long-term provision of social and health care for the ageing population.  Impact for state/society: The proposed R&D activities can have a direct impact on effective chronic disease management and on lowering the burden of (in)formal carers, enhancing existing integrated health and care models, and optimizing the economic viability on the health and social security system by complementing their functions. Considering the current lack of research on ITC the empirical evidence of how to establish ITC in care pathways will hopefully also boost new policy initiatives that have been strongly advocated on the EU level but scarcely implemented in Slovenia.
Most important scientific results Interim report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Interim report
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