Health and Social Care Needs Multidisciplinary Competences

Teksti | Outi Ahonen , Annamaija Id-Korhonen , Sanna Juvonen , Ulla-Mari Kinnunen , Jaana-Maija Koivisto , Arja Koski , Raija Koskinen , Tarja Laakkonen , Mika Paldanius , Paula Poikela , Päivi Pöyry-Lassila , Elina Rajalahti , Taina Romppanen , Päivi Sanerma , Timo Sirviö , Sirkku Säätelä , Olli Vesterinen , Alpo Värri

The SotePeda 24/7 project (2018–2020) aims to improve the future digital and co-creation skills and competences of multidisciplinary developers of health and social care services. The project develops digital competences for health and social care, information communication and technology (ICT), and business professionals. It offers digital studies, pedagogical solutions, competence frameworks, ethical principles, and a new open-study environment. The purpose of this article is to describe the aims of SotePeda 24/7 and explain what kinds of digital solutions and pedagogical tools it will offer to meet health and social care sector reforms for educators, students, and working life representatives. Future health and social care requires multidisciplinary, boundary-crossing competence to utilise digitalisation as part of health and social care services.


The Finnish health and social care sector is changing rapidly, and new digital services are placing an emphasis on each individual’s own health and wellbeing expertise and decision-making. Future customers (in this context, the patients, clients, and end-users of the services) will increasingly produce information about their holistic wellbeing while using digital health and social care services, but customers’ abilities to utilise digital tools vary significantly. This creates new requirements for professionals to update their skills and competences so they can support customers in choosing the most suitable services and technologies. Services need to be developed, accounting for the needs of health and social care sector users, and customers are therefore at the centre of this digital, customer-oriented reform and are considered to be active experts in their own health and wellbeing (Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 2015).Beyond customers, digitalisation changes the practices, processes, and roles of professionals in the health and social care sector. Designing and producing value-providing services for customers requires internalised professional ethics and multidisciplinary competences in ICT, business, service design, and content production (World Health Organization 2013).It is important to start the multidisciplinary collaboration as early as possible so that cross-sector development and co-production skills become a natural part of every profession in the health and social care sector. For example, educators need to construct a culture of working together to enable multidisciplinary teaching (Ahonen et al. 2017; Thye et al. 2018).

New competences for multidisciplinary health and social care

SotePeda 24/7 is funded by Finland’s Ministry of Education and Culture and coordinated by Laurea University of Applied Sciences, with the participation of 23 Finnish higher education institutions. The project develops the expertise of educators, students, and working life representatives in digital pedagogy and services to help customers with different backgrounds to use digital health and social care services. The aim of the project is to increase competences in developing digital services in the health and social care sector, and to create digital pedagogical solutions to support multidisciplinary learning. The project creates new digital courses and pedagogical approaches that will ensure fluent, year-round digital learning paths for students.SotePeda 24/7 also aims to define what kind of competences are needed in multidisciplinary health and social care so that citizens can take care of their health and wellbeing more independently. One of the goals is to promote the integrative thinking and multidisciplinary collaboration skills of educators in the development of digital health and social services. The project therefore tries to enable integrative thinking, as well as skills, with educators developing the ability to apply digital and open learning material that supports them by using common language to collaborate in developing digital services.Several organisations have defined competences in the application of information technology in health and social care, including the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA; Mantas et al. 2011). A co-operative project between the European Union and United States has also consolidated the competence specifications of more than ten organisations into a single set of over a thousand competences (Värri et al. 2016); these health information technology (HIT) competences are publicly available online (HITCOMP, 2018). A further aim of SotePeda 24/7 is to define these HIT and IMIA competences for the Finnish health and social care sector and to apply existing knowledge to other sectors.SotePeda 24/7 is based on a model developed for healthcare educators´ information management and the competences of educators (Rajalahti 2014). Knowledge and skills for health and social care pedagogy highlight the professionalism of the substance, information, and communication technologies and pedagogy. The pedagogical solutions developed will utilise existing models as a foundation, and all new pedagogical tools and solutions will be piloted in the project partners’ institutions. The Learning by Developing (LbD) model (Taatila & Raij 2011), which combines collective learning and authentic development, will be used, and project outputs and outcomes will be available on a common digital platform.Service design (SD) plays an important role in SotePeda 24/7. According to Freire and Sangiorgi (2010), SD is one of the key competence areas for the development of digital services in the social and health care sector in multifunctional environments. The main elements of SD are empathy and interest in the customer’s perspective, co-creation with stakeholders, a multidisciplinary approach, design thinking, and the use of early prototyping (Schneider & Stickdorn 2010; Tschimmel 2012). These enable the development of valuable, functional, digital or non-digital service paths for customers (Yu & Sangiorgi 2018). Citizens’ involvement in health care is growing, and communication is increasingly being achieved through social media; one of the main concerns of the project is that the use of electronic health services should not be limited to technologically advanced users (Ahonen et al. 2016). This requires the use of new, innovative ideas by applying design thinking (Razzouk & Shute 2012).

24/7 pedagogical solutions for Finnish higher education institutions

Future educators are facilitators of learning and coaches who support students in acquiring knowledge. According to Ahvenainen et al. (2015; 2017) these facilitators need pedagogical tools and models to organise students’ learning processes. New knowledge should undergo a development from creative ‘chaos’ to cognition, using knowledge that is part of the trialogical learning process (Nonaka et al. 2000; Paavola et al. 2012). Trialogical learning takes place in innovative knowledge communities, from theoretical foundations to pedagogical development (Paavola & Hakkarainen, 2005). The SD method, together with boundary-crossing co-creation and facilitation, will be used in the development of pedagogical models and pilots, so that the development process includes all parties that develop and use the pedagogical models.SotePeda 24/7 studies the best practices of SD methods for the health and social care sector, processes them to form digital study modules, and publishes digital material for free use in an open learning environment. Its purpose is to identify, define, develop, and test multidisciplinary networks, operating models, tools, and digital platforms for use by the health and social care communities. The project also examines provincial operating environments from a multifunctional perspective and will map regional development communities and cooperation methods.Health and social care requires future-oriented information for strategic decision-making, both in education and work. Business intelligence models, knowledge management, and pedagogical studies are needed for health and social care education and management. The project reuses data in the decision-making and development of the organisation (Kuusisto-Niemi 2016) and promotes the competences of professionals in using eHealth information resources to support informatics, so customers can receive evidence-based, personalised care. The working conditions of staff are also improved with the help of up-to-date information (Ahonen et al. 2016). Research and the meta-analysis of future working life enable the formation of ethical principles and ethical procedures for multi-professional work. By developing students´ and professionals´ ethical competences, SotePeda 24/7 endeavours to provide citizens with high-level services in the digitalised social and health care environment.


SotePeda 24/7 builds competences for educators, students, and working life representatives, and strengthens the involvement of citizens in self-care by creating new web-based learning environments. New technology offers a wide range of both opportunities and responsibilities for citizens’ own health and wellbeing; digital pedagogy and customer-centric open learning environments therefore play an important role in SotePeda 24/7 by supporting learners’ lifelong learning in different scenarios with new pedagogical models and solutions. The future demands of working life, especially in terms of ethical skills (e.g. Jauhiainen et. al. 2017), ethical principles for digital environments, and new working life situations need the more integrated teaching of ethics and an orientation towards future ethical competence. SotePeda 24/7 develops the working habits of Finnish higher education institutions and expands the skills students need for working life by offering a multidisciplinary experience. The wide consortium guarantees effective work, in cooperation with open-minded participants, and creative ideas using a common language.

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