Blog: Measuring digital competence in healthcare organizations2022-02-04
One of the most significant transformations from analogue to digital has occurred during the pandemic to reduce the spread of the Covid-19 virus. More and more tasks are becoming digitalized, from daily work assignments to communicating with external parties. This rapid transformation has pushed organizations and individuals to develop their overall digital competence rapidly.
This blog post presents an ongoing study on measuring digital competence. In our pilot study, our findings showed that individuals are open to improving their competence. Hence, we believe organizations can improve reflection, experience sharing and learning, and build functions that support the development and maintenance of social and professional relationships and networking. Below, I will describe our study, perspectives and findings in more detail.
Digitalization within organizations requires digital competence, which can be broken down into several components, such as technical competence (Heggernes, 2017). Here, we focus on the technical competence as implemented information technology and in combination with organizational perspectives. The latter can be viewed as strategies, business processes, and cultural aspects.
Any organization is a system requiring competence at all levels. Therefore, we developed a model to understand how digital competence can be found (and supported) within organizations, specifically in healthcare. There are several ways to look at digitalization and digital competence. We focus on a sociological perspective in which people systematically drive organizations and transformations within an organization.
We used the Pentagon model to frame our model. The Pentagon model is based on sociological perspectives on organizational transformation (Schiefloes, 2003). To contextualize it to digital transformation, we added Hanelt et al. (2021) ’s perspective that digitalization is a transformation initiated by digital technique implementation or change. We used the exact dimensions used in the Pentagon model, which were developed based on prior research and empirical material: formal structure, technology and infrastructure, social relations and network, interaction and culture, and competence (Schiefloes, 2003). Added to these dimensions are the individual’s ability and willingness to use and understand digitalization (Heggerness, 2017).
As a next step, we developed a survey with 20 structured questions. Each question has five possible answers, ranging from completely agree to disagree and including a “not relevant” answer. The results indicated good digital competence for the initial population in a Interreg-project (VälTel 2.0), including healthcare workers in both Mid Sweden and Nordtröndelag in Norway. One dimension with exceptionally high scores is the individual’s ability and willingness to use and understand digitalization, implying they expressed a high willingness to develop their competence further. The implications are that organizations could improve their culture and spaces to improve opportunities for reflection, experience sharing and learning as well as building functions that support the development and maintenance of social and professional relationships and networking.
Our collaboration will continue using the survey in new contexts and validating the model by deepening its perspectives. We are in the stage of welcoming a national research organization interested in developing their perspectives on digital competence. We want to add steps to digital competence in the long run, ranging from beginners to experts.
If your organization is interested in measuring digital competence, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Postdoctoral researcher in Information Systems