10 years have soon passed since I defended my PhD. Facebook has given me some memories such as “Date set, opponent accepted! Now the only thing that is missing is the text”. I remember that I had tree months to write the introduction to the text and organise everything around the PhD. The PhD was based on eight papers related to how to work with software engineering (user centred design- UCD) in large organisations, and a large action research project with eight different public authorities. You find the thesis here: http://uu.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2%3A310201&dswid=-5735
The thesis has three research questions:
- What happens when UCSD is introduced in a public authority?
I was also interested in the values and perspectives of people involved in the organisation as well as how UCSD can be introduced through new methods that affect the values and perspectives of the stakeholders including the system developers in the organisation. Therefore, this thesis also aims at understanding the following questions:
- How do perspectives of stakeholders in systems development projects affect the work with UCSD, usability and users’ health in the organisations studied?
The final question addresses the issues of how we can address the introduction of UCSD and change perspectives:
- What new methods can be used to introduce UCSD and to influence perspectives?
I finished my PhD during a tough period in life, and I had much support from my family, my supervisor Jan Gulliksen and my friends. One of my very best friends Helena Bernáld did the photos for the thesis, and my parents helped me with grocery shopping, cleaning and laundry. In parallel to writing my PhD I was a single mom of three kids aged 2, 6 and 7, see photo. In addition to this I had just bought a house that I renovated and I somehow I pulled off painting my new house. I don’t remember why I though it was so important. Why did I do that!!?? It sounds very crazy in hindsight.
I remember nailing the PhD thesis to a wall in the university building (see photo) and feeling so happy that I pulled things off! A big thanks to everyone that helped me during this period!!
Professor Bodil Jönsson was the opponent at my defence. I remember that the discussion was very nice and that she thought that I had used too many theories and added to much material to the thesis. And she had a point. Somehow the situation in life made the PhD defence seem like something that was possible to control. And I was really not very nervous about it, and writing the thesis was therapy related to life in general. That part is also difficult to understand! I guess people are strange, and I am equally strange myself.
Keep safe in Corona times!
Magdalena Stadin from Jönköping University, David Borgestig from Region Uppsala and I will be presenting at Vitalis 2020!
The abstract for the talk (transpated from Swedish)
Today, health care in Sweden is largely digitalised. The data that the business needs to function such as clinical data on patients such as administrative data on personnel, resources and costs are now primarily in digital form. This means that most healthcare and administrative processes are performed using one or more computer systems. This has had major consequences for the health care workers’ work environment.
This presentation begins by explaining what the digital work environment consists of, and some of the work environment problems that have arisen in connection with digitalisation. The digital work environment includes all the different digital systems required to carry out one’s work. The digital work environment can have a major impact on the physical, mental, and social work environment. For example, clicking and typing with a keyboard can cause physical problems, such as musculoskeletal disorders. Poorly designed systems can increase the cognitive load and lead to brain fatigue and overload, which can contribute to fatigue. The transition to digital communication can also change social patterns and power relations in depth.
The presenters have many years of experience in research on digitalisation of healthcare from a work environment perspective and will give examples from the studies they participated in as an introduction to the presentation.
In the presentation we will also elaborate on two different case studies we have done on digitization and the working environment. The first study is about a pilot project in primary care around triaging patients with the help of a chat function. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the staff with the new service? How is the staff’s working environment affected by the change? What can be learned for future implementations in primary care. The second study is an interview study with leaders in health care and their experiences of aspects in the digital work environment that are perceived to contribute to stress and frustration, and how these aspects are handled in a concrete manner. A further theme highlighted by the second study is what improvement measures would be required for the digital work environment to be improved, from the leaders’ perspective.
Finally, we will make recommendations for working with digital work environment in health care.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
The University Chancellor’s Office (Universitetskanslersämbetet ), together with the Swedish Growth Agency (Tillväxtverket), has been commissioned to analyze and propose how the supply of digital excellence can be developed in the short and long term. The assignment includes the development of improved statistics and forecasts of the total need for competence in business and the public sector with the aim of improving the conditions for universities and universities to meet the need for excellence in the short and long term.
However, there is no accepted definition of what digital excellence is. Our project hence aims to develop a definition of the concept of digital excellence. The definition should form the basis for UKÄ and the Swedish Growth Agency’s project.
As a part of this work Jan Gulliksen, Arnold Pears, Mattias Wiggberg and I are doing an interview study with 10-20 key players to understand their perspective of Digital Excellence. This week I have started doing these semi structured interviews, and it has been great fun. Doing an interview is always a learning experience, and people are often very wise and knowledgeable.
I will participate in the conference organised by the Social Work Centre (CEASAR). The conference will be run in Uppsala on the 12th and 13th of March. The purpose of this conference is to provide a forum for presentations of research in social work in a Swedish context. The majority of the time will be devoted to seminar discussions papers. Simon Lindgren till give a key note which sounds really interesting on the topic of Digital Cultures and Digital Methods in the Social Sciences at the opening of the Conference. I will participate as a panel member discussing digitalisation in social work under the guidance of Professor Stefan Sjöström together with two other researchers:
- Åsa Cajander, professor of human-computer interaction, Uppsala universityo
- Lupita Svensson, associate professor in social work, Lund Universityo
- Karin Osvaldsson Cromdal, associate professor in social work, Linköpingsuniversitet
On the 18th of March I will give a key note about work environment and digitalisation at the Uppsala Public Management Seminar 2020. When invited they want me to talk a bit about New Public Management and digitalisation, so that will be one theme. The key note will be in Swedish
Hur påverkas arbetslivet och arbetsmiljön av digitalisering?
Digitaliseringen är fantastisk och skapar nya möjligheter i samhället. Vi digitaliserar också alltmer och nya tekniker driver förändringen. Det vi ofta glömmer bort är att digitaliseringen i arbetslivet också påverkar vår arbetsmiljö. Under den här föreläsningen kommer Åsa Cajander att berätta om forskningsfronten inom området digitalisering och arbetsmiljö med illustrerande exempel. Föreläsningen kommer att beröra fragmentering av tid, förändringar i arbetsuppgifter och problemet med att vara ständigt uppkopplad och nåbar. Föreläsningen kommer också att innehålla rekommendationer och råd kring hur man digitaliserar med arbetsmiljön i fokus.
See you there
I will be a part of a team that will work on a definition of Excellent Digital Competence (Digital spetskompetens) in the spring 2020. The project is funded by The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket) and The Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ). The work will be led by Professor Jan Gulliksen and the other members of the team are Arnold Pears and Mattias Wiggberg. The team is composed of people with complementary skills to create the best possible working group, and my area of speciality in comparison to the others is the gender perspective.
Excellent Digital Excellence is likely to include a basic broad knowledge of the basics of digitalisation as well as in-depth expertise in one or more sub-areas, such as programming technology, AI, data security or user experiences, just to name a few. Digital excellence also certainly includes some form of documented practical experience of actively participating in several successful development projects.
The OECD notes that the lack of digital specialists and digital excellence is a bottleneck for innovation and growth in Sweden. The need is expected to increase in the coming years as digitalisation develops and new technologies such as AI will have an impact.
In order to work with this on a political level there is a need for a definition of Excellent Digital Competence, and we will work with this using several different methods:
- Literature studies to map the state of knowledge, analyses of identified documents
- Short interviews to capture the different needs of the target groups, both from industry and academia
- Continuous reconciliation meetings with clients to clarify the work and give it direction and to iteratively refine and improve the quality of the result
- Workshop / Focus groups to discuss and anchor proposed definitions, as well as to anchor the work and to get input into problem picture
- Design thinking methodology for developing creative innovative solutions
I think it will be great fun to work in this project! I think that the topic is of high importance, and it will be great fun to reconnect with Arnold Pears, Jan Gulliksen and Mattias Wiggberg.
I will be chairing and organising the case study articles for NordiCHI 2020 in Tallin. NordiCHI is one of the conferences I attend every time it runs, and I really like it as it is a mix of researchers and practitioners. And I also have many good colleagues who also join that conference.
The case studies track is new for NordiCHI, and it is a track dedicated to case-study articles and this year NordiCHI targets:
* Future scenarios
* Global development
* Digital society –
* Industry applications
The conference runs October 25 – 29, 2020 in Tallinn, Estonia. The deadlines for case studies will be up on the web page soon.
Ten years ago I defended my PhD, so this decade was the start of my career as a senior researcher. I have seen many blog posts about academic achievements as a part of the 2020 celebration, and I thought that I might write one too. However, I will not focus on the success stories but on the things that went more or less wrong and that I learnt from during these years. I try to see these as learning experiences, as in “Make mistakes. Learn from them. Move on”.
Here are some difficult situations and learning experiences I have had made during this decade. Surely there are more situations to come!
- Finishing a Phd as a Single Mom with Three Kids. Ten years ago I was a single mom with three kids writing up my research into a PhD. Honestly my PhD is not amazing, but I am proud that I pulled it off and passed. The learning experience from this is that good enough works fine, and that family is what matters most in every situation.
- Non-finished papers. Most of the time I find the energy to rewrite papers that are rejected, but sometimes there is simply no such energy despite the paper being 90% done. Fortunately I do this very seldom, but is it still such a waste of time NOT to finish and resubmit. The learning experience from this is set of time, and to give yourself a deadline when the paper needs to be done.
- Accused of Doing Unethical Research. Our research consortium DOME was accused of doing unethical research when doing studies on the implementation of patient accessible electronic health medical records. We were of course freed from all accusations, but this was horribly stressful. The leaders of the consortium including me were on hearing by the ethical board, and I felt like a criminal. Other experiences during these times included people calling asking for help when all they wanted to do was to find problems with our research. Learning experience from this: You can really build a strong community when there is a crisis, and DOME flourished from being forced to really collaborate and support each other. DOME is still one of the nicest research teams that I am a part of!
- Not Getting Funded for Years. In 2016 I was close to giving up my career as a researcher due to not getting any funding. Getting funding and understanding the system was indeed too difficult, and I tried as good as I could without any luck. I felt like such a failure. After more than ten fails with applications I at last got three project funded, and I am still in academia but it was a close call. Learning experience from this: I think I did learn a LOT from writing so many applications with different people. Unfortunately I did not get to work with them, but today my knowledge about how to write applications has indeed improved from all this hard work.
- Media Coverage with Unexpected (WHAT?) Content. I have been interviewed in the radio where sentences I said were cut off, and media articles that I have been cited in have titles that I would strongly disapprove of. When doing research on patient accessible electronic health records this was really not good as it was lots of conflicts related to the implementation. The learning experience from this is to make sure that I read or look at everything that is published including the headline of the article.
- Declined Being Promoted. Around five years ago I applied to promotion to Excellent teacher, knowing from asking knowledgeable colleagues that I was indeed qualified. And also knowing from having done such assessments myself. However, I failed and the application was denied based on really odd details. The learning experience from this is that failing hurts, and unfairness hurts, but I didn’t die but applied again a few years later and passed.
- Lack of Support. For more than five years I was in a situation where I had very little, or no support, from one important person in a power position at work. This resulted in much stress, and avoidance of being at work, and me applying for a job at other university in Sweden. I did not get the job which really was too bad 🙁 . Learning experience from this: Academia can indeed be a tough place, and we need to take care of each other. However, I still think that I would have been better off switching jobs than staying even though the situation came to an end.
- Difficulties in a Collaboration. People are different, and value different things. One of the most difficult conflicts I experienced was in a collaboration that had worked excellently for several years when I was the Pi in a project, but that failed when my colleague became the Pi in a new project. We had a different views on what counted as work in the project when she was the manager, and we did not find an agreement. I finished the collaboration one year early. Thee learning experience from this is to openly discuss what counts as work in the project, and what is expected from each person.
What is needed in the future when it comes to digital competence? This is the topic of a project coordinated by the Swedish Agency for Growth Policy Analysis. My role in this will be as one of the experts filling in a Delphi study and joining in a one day meeting in Stockholm next year. And as you can imagine, I have been asked as one of their gender equality experts related to digitalization.
The questions that are asked are:
• What do jobs look like in 5-10 years?
• What digital skills are needed to perform these tasks?
The knowledge of how the tasks performed at the job will change is contradictory and under construction. This makes it difficult today to understand what digital skills will be needed to do the jobs in the future. In order to gain a deeper understanding of what digital skills will be needed in the future, a study is conducted focusing on the following three areas:
• The service sector
• Gender equality (women / men)
Swedish Agency for Growth Policy Analysishas written a number of reports on digitization. The new project Digital competence, how is the present and future in education systems and business begins by updating the knowledge of how digitally mature Swedish companies are today. The Authority’s new maturity calculations include, among other things, components that showcase the companies’ digital competence.
This will be an interesting learning experience, and I hope to be able to contribute with my knowledge about competence, work and gender!
Martin Rydmark and Göran Petersson are editors of a forthcoming Swedish book for students and people interested in learning about Medical Informatics. The book will be an updated version of a very popular book written in 1996 named Medicinsk informatik with Liber utbildning as the publisher.
I will be contributing to two of the chapters in the book:
- One about usability and the work environment for health care professionals written together with Diane Golay and Minna Salminen Karlsson
- One focusing on person centred care and eServices written together with Axel Wolf, Isabella Scandurra and Maria Hägglund
We will be working with these book chapters in the fall and the first deadline is in November. At this point the work consists of being creative, as the illustration of this blog post is supposed to highlight. We are discussing, and planning the content of each chapter using different colours for the areas that we are going to write about.
For me writing a course book is a new experience, and I also very seldom write in Swedish so this will be something new.