Tampere University Hospital and Tampere Region serve as platforms for several pilots that test the use of digital content and virtuality in promoting health and well-being. Digital and virtual content are suitable as tools for professionals. They can also be used directly by customers to support their health and well-being.
Digital content refers to various media content that is available in digital format. Digital content includes for example sounds, music, digital photos and videos. The content can be presented via different technologies. For example a soothing nature experience can be brought through VR glasses into a three-dimensional virtual environment for the perception of its user.
With the help of the Smart Tampere funding of the City of Tampere, studies on the needs of digital content have been carried out. In addition, some pilot experiments have been done at Tampere University Hospital and local social and health services companies.
Digital content as an enrichment for customer service work
Fluente Kumppanit Oy produces digital working methods and processes for the social and health sector. The purpose of digital tools is to intensify nursing and improve interaction with customers.
Fluente has just completed a pilot where digital contents were tested to be part of professional nursing in several nursing homes, rehabilitation and housing units in Finland. The pilot was a follow-up to a study on the distribution channels for digital content, funded by Smart Tampere in 2018. According to the study, there are no complete digital content packages for the social and health sector yet. In practice, this means that nursing staff should pick up and compile content collections from a huge amount of digital material if digital content were to be used as part of customer service work.
Virtual and digital technology are already highly advanced, but their goal-oriented, systematic utilization in social and health services is just beginning, says digital architect Arja Ranta-aho from Fluente.
As a follow-up to the study, Fluente started an experiment where pilot collaborators systematically compiled their favorite lists of digital content and experimented with digital content as part of their nursing and rehabilitation work.
As a tool for digital content, Fluente makes use of the Yeti tablet, which can be utilized to add functionality to nursing care. Using a 98-inch tablet does not require fine motor skills or verbal communication. The tablet interests both children and elderly.
– I always say that age or performance does not prevent the use of digital content. It always has an inclusive effect and a well-thought-out goal for a customer group or user, Ranta-aho emphasizes. The use of digital content in social and health services is always goal-oriented and systematic.
According to Ranta-aho experiments are mainly welcomed. However the active use of digital content by healthcare professionals as part of their own work is still new, and can be at first protested.
Creating personal experience for staff is also important. Seeing the effects in practice reassures them about the importance of the issue, says Ranta-aho.
Ranta-aho tells that in the experiments the digital content has brought to the attention new interests of different age people. Through this, the digital content and, for example, the blackboard also serve as a new communication channel between the professional and the client.
The results of Fluente and Yle Arena and YLE’s Living Archive pilot were discussed in more detail on 10 May, 2019 at an open event. For more information on the event, visit www.fluente.com or search for LinkedIn Ranta-aho, Arja.
Experience recipes for special medical care
The virtual experience medicine project, coordinated by the Tampere University of Applied Sciences, is practically experimenting how to influence the well-being of patients and the quality of customer experience in special medical care. The project implements a number of development pilots around Tampere University Hospital for different patient groups.
In a pilot, starting in May 2019, the virtual glasses produced by MelloVR are used. The glasses produce a virtual experience for the customer, where he can turn his head to look at the 360-degree environment. Five nature experiences from the VR glass producer have been selected for the experiment, in which, in addition to glasses, headphones are used to sense the sound.
The reception of the project in special medical care has been good. Staff and departmental doctors are happy to try new things for their patients, says Juha Ahonen, the Coordination Manager of the Virtual Experience Medicine project from Hospital District of Tampere Region.
The aim of the Virtual Experience Medicine project is to formulate so-called experience recipes that combine well-being and equality. In addition, the goal is to develop the training of the creative and social sectors to promote these goals and to build new types of cooperation networks. The project will continue until the end of 2020 and will be implemented by Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, Oulu University of Applied Sciences and Turku University of Applied Sciences. The project is funded by the Häme ELY Center.
Content topics from nature
The most popular topics in digital and virtual content often come from nature. Nature has been found to have a calming and relaxing effect. In health services relaxation is emphasized, while in social services activation is the goal. Activation by ways of digital content means, for example, experiences and involvement, as well as opportunities to express emotions even when the disease or mental disability limits verbal expression or senses. Relaxation in turn can improve the response to treatment and remove the tension and fears of the client or relatives, which often occur especially with health services.
As part of the Virtual Experience Medicine project, a quiet room designed by Tampere University of Applied Sciences, is currently being piloted. In the Quiet Room the visitor can choose to listen to the self-adjustable nature sounds if desired. The purpose of nature sounds is to promote relaxation, reduce fears and promote the recovery of staff.
The Tampuere University Hospital Day Surgery Department also tested the soothing effect of digital content. In this pilot, run by Fluente Oy, patients watched a video of nature photos and soothing music in the waiting room of the operating room. Based on the results, the patients really felt the nature-related content soothing them.
Participation and cultural right
Digital content can produce new joint actions for its users. Ranta-aho tells an example where digital content and the blackboard have brought new goals and independence to some customers. Enhancing inclusion is one of the most important values of digital and virtual content.
The aim of the Tampere Region Cultural Welfare Plan behind the Virtual Experience Medicine project is to promote well-being through culture and art. The aim is to strengthen the agency and involvement and the realization of the cultural rights of all people.
Cultural rights must also be guaranteed to special groups, such as psychiatric patients in long-term hospital care or clients with intellectual disabilities. We can all enjoy our important cultural and artistic experiences to support our well-being, says Juha Ahonen.
Digital content can offer something completely new to the range of services in the social and health sectors. New business can arise from the commercialization and exploitation of the skills of the creative industries for the needs of the social sector. This requires professional and long-term cooperation between artistic and cultural actors and the social and health sector, where only imagination is the limit.