Test methodology to meet universal design when developing welfare technology
Introduction and background:
The Norwegian Smart Care Lab works with testing and verification of new solutions that is being developed in the healthcare sector and is a project in the Norwegian Smart Care Cluster. The cluster consist of a network with over 200 company members, 50 municipalities and several academic partners. The cluster goal is to help strengthen the Norwegian healthcare by advising and assisting the companies and create networks and dialogue. In healthcare it is especially important that the solutions that are being developed follows standards, as they will be used by people and might be a product that is available for everyone if they are implemented in public healthcare. We should work to promote a society where everyone should have the same prerequisites to use the technological aids that are being developed, regardless if it is software, hardware or other aids. Universal design includes the design of buildings, products and services with a view to achieving equal access for all. Standardization is an important tool for achieving this goal.
As of today, it is challenging to navigate through the standards that apply to welfare technology. There is no standard that only applies to welfare technology and we do not know of any tools that have been developed specifically for this. The reason for this may be that welfare technology is often composed of hardware, software, algorithms and an application related to the solution. This means that health technology solutions can often fall between two chairs.
An example of a company that has such a solution is Medsensio. They have developed a physical stethoscope that perceives lung sounds and interprets these. The stethoscope use sensors to listen in on lung sounds and the end users get insight in changes or abnormalities in their lung sounds through an app. To get more information about similar companies and products,
Which standards applies for welfare technology? We would like to map welfare technology standards and also to develop a test methodology for universal design related to health technology. Develop tools for this. This will be part of a quality assurance system in the Norwegian Smart Care Lab. A tool must be developed to map solutions and find out which solutions are relevant. It would be relevant for us if the students could prepare an overview of which standards to test against, when it comes to a solution for the lab. The design will depend on whether it is ICT, service or medical technical equipment. It will be relevant with both Norwegian standards, but also European. This is important for us because we want the companies that test their products with the Norwegian Smart Care Lab get assurance on that the products they are developing meets the standards in Norway and possible internationally.