A high-tech welfare state

The government doesn’t know how much money it can save through digital welfare solutions, but expects it to contribute to the goal of saving 12 billion kroner by 2020

Digital and technological welfare solutions will be rolled out across the country in the hope of giving citizens more independence and saving the state money.

The high-tech upgrades include electronic smart boards in schools, robots that help people with muscular degeneration cook and eat, and equipment that will enable lung patients to perform tests at home instead of having to go to the hospital.

The government's ultimate ambition is to find new, cheaper and more effective ways of providing welfare services and the economy and interior minister, Margrethe Vestager (Radikale), argues that technology is the way forward.

Digital solutions go nationwide
“Citizens are given better welfare when they use digital solutions and society is also given more freedom to use money where they benefit most,” Vestager said. “We need to constantly try out new technological opportunities so that we can adopt new solutions and develop our welfare state.”

The strategy, which was presented today, means that many digital welfare solutions that have been trialled in various councils across the country, will now be offered across the board.

READ MORE: Robot vacuum cleaners fall out of favour with nation's elderly

The government, together with the local government associations KL and the association of regions, Danske Regioner, want digital solutions to give citizens more control over their lives, while also improving the efficiency of the welfare state by tying together different services.

Unknown savings
According to Berlingske newspaper, the government hopes to save 12 billion kroner by 2010 by modernising the public sector, but there is no estimate of the savings that will be gained through digital welfare.

“The strategy was not presented with calculations showing the concrete economic benefits of each initiative,” the finance minister, Bjarne Corydon (Socialdemokraterne) told Berlingske.

“But digitalisation has been incorporated into the larger strategic setup for our economic policy, which has a goal of finding 12 billion kroner [in savings]," he said. "We will assess the impact at a later point.”

Corydon added that some of the savings will be found as digital and technological welfare solutions are taken up by more councils as their costs drop.

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