Determinants of Implementing an Information and Communication Technology Tool for Social Interaction Among Older People: Qualitative Content Analysis of Social Services Personnel Perspectives.

Publication date: Feb 26, 2024

Older people are particularly vulnerable to social isolation and loneliness, which can lead to ill-health, both mentally and physically. Information and communication technology (ICT) can supplement health and social care and improve health among the vulnerable, older adult population. When ICT is used specifically for communication with others, it is associated with reduced loneliness in older populations. Research is sparse on how the implementation of ICT, used specifically for communication among older people in social services, can be performed. It is recommended to consider the determinants of implementation, that is, barriers to and facilitators of implementation. Determinants related to older people using ICT tools are reported in several studies. To the best of our knowledge, studies investigating the determinants related to the social services perspective are lacking. This study aims to explore the determinants of implementing the Fik@ room, a new, co-designed, and research-based ICT tool for social interaction among older people, from a social services personnel perspective. This study used an exploratory, qualitative design. An ICT tool called the Fik@ room was tested in an intervention study conducted in 2021 in 2 medium-sized municipalities in Sweden. Informants in this study were municipal social services personnel with experience of implementing this specific ICT tool in social services. We conducted a participatory workshop consisting of 2 parts, with 9 informants divided into 2 groups. We analyzed the data using qualitative content analysis with an inductive approach. The results included 7 categories of determinants for implementing the ICT tool. Being able to introduce the ICT tool in an appropriate manner concerns the personnel’s options for introducing and supporting the ICT tool, including their competencies in using digital equipment. Organizational structure concerns a structure for communication within the organization. Leadership concerns engagement and enthusiasm as driving forces for implementation. The digital maturity of the social services personnel concerns the personnel’s skills and attitudes toward using digital equipment. Resources concern time and money. IT support concerns accessibility, and legal liability concerns possibilities to fulfill legal responsibilities. The results show that implementation involves an entire organization at varying degrees. Regardless of how much each level within the organization comes into direct contact with the ICT tool, all levels need to be involved to create the necessary conditions for successful implementation. The prerequisites for the implementation of an ICT tool will probably change depending on the digital maturity of future generations. As this study only included 9 informants, the results should be handled with care. The study was performed during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has probably affected the results.

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Concepts Keywords
Driving barriers
Municipalities determinants
Older digitalization
Qualitative facilitators
Sweden implementation
older people
social isolation


Type Source Name
disease MESH loneliness
disease VO population
disease IDO intervention
disease VO organization
disease VO time
disease MESH COVID-19 pandemic

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