All municipalities and counties are facing challenges within their health and social care programs. There is an urgent need for more help, while at the same time there are fewer employees within the health and social care system. The municipality of Helsingborg handles approximately 1,000 sick pay applications within LSS a year. Often many of the applications must be returned in order to obtain additional information. This creates a problem wherein in applications and revised applications can easily end up stacked in different piles of paper and on post-it notes. These notes and revisions sometimes get lost during this time or lost in the mail while actually matching applications with subsequent revisions also takes a long time. The entire process takes a lot of time away from the city’s college educated personnel who must spend more time on paperwork than with personally interacting with their clients. The municipality decided it was time, along with the company Bitoreq, to automate the handling of its sick pay system
“No one wanted the job and it was a very unwieldy task for the social workers,” said Karin Fagerlund, former LSS social worker for the City of Helsingborg.
Karin Fagerlund was appointed as the project leader for the automation process so that she could provide a clear understanding of what the end users required. The automation process was initiated and then completed in 2018. Today, the city is saving 20 to 30 minutes per application in administration time thanks to automation. That amounts to almost 30,000 work hours per year, which can now be spent on meeting with clients and quality control.
“Now we can spend more time on managing assignments quickly while being more present and meeting clients face-to-face. For the first time in years, we are current with our sick pay system,” says Mikael Håkansson, head of Health and Social Care in Helsingborg.
The automated internet application is connected via BankID and verifies signatures and that all of the information is correct. It even reminds the applicant that if they have been sick for more than nine days, they must get a doctor’s note. Before, the application had to be sent back if that information was missing, but now this is handled automatically by the program. It even makes sure that all attachments are included, that all of the sums are correct, such as statutory pension, how many hours the person has been sick, and much more.
“We have had a very close and good partnership with the developers at Bitoreq. Together we have found solutions in order to obtain a functioning application process. They are responsible for the technical functionality while we are responsible for how the business functions. It is a perfect match,” says Karin Fagerlund, project manager.
Since January 2019, Karin has visited different companies that support the municipality to teach them the new system. Today, four of these companies are now using this new system. The feedback has been that it is a very easy and efficient system to handle. The goal is that within a year close to 60 to 70 of these support companies within the municipality will have their sick pay program in the system.
“The work has been a lot of fun; I am proud every time I explain the internet application. I hope that more municipalities will snap this up and thereby save lots of time and money, as well as helping the environment by saving paper and handling mail,” says Mikael Håkansson, head of the municipality.