Co-creating better digital solutions for people with disabilities
30 May 2023
The Nordic countries are determined to find solutions for full and effective participation in society for persons with disabilities, and use the advantages of the digital development. This topic will be highlighted in the United Nations on 13 June.
The Nordic side event during the conference of State Parties to the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD) is headlined Co-creating digital solutions for persons with disabilities – Policies and strategies for tomorrow´s digital challenges. The Nordic countries agree that a stronger focus on accessibility and user-friendliness is needed for developing better digital solutions for welfare services for persons with disabilities.
Health information unaccessible without electronic ID
Persons with disabilities should have access, on an equal basis with others, to information and communications technologies and systems. Currently this is not the case. For example healthcare or bank information can be hard to access for people who cannot obtain or use electronic ID solutions.
In Iceland, a newly started project is working towards better digital solutions. At the Icelandic Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour, Rights Protection Officer for disabled people Garðar Kristinsson Thorlacius explains that the goal is to grant everyone access to their information or services that are provided online. For identifications with the highest security demands, a solution with personal advocates, such as a trusted family member, is suggested.
– People with disabilities that cannot get an electronic ID themselves should be able to have a digital personal advocate to act on their behalf in the digital world, Garðar Kristinsson Thorlacius says.
The challenges are security-related as well as technical. Healthcare and bank information require high security, which is challenging when it comes to making services more accessible and possibly open for personal advocates.
– We have to find a solution that works in both ways, for people to be able to enact their rights to access their own information, but without compromising the security of the information which we are granting access to, says Garðar Kristinsson Thorlacius.
Co-creating by gathering the right people around the table
When co-creating solutions, having all the relevant parties involved is one of the keys to success. In this case, the project gathers not only four ministries but also the healthcare sector, the banking sector and users from all over Iceland.
– We have all the relevant people at the table, says Garðar Kristinsson Thorlacius.
To reach the goal, both legal changes and software development will be needed. Having ministry representatives working alongside people with technical knowledge in the project will hopefully make the process smoother and quicker.
– Our hope is that the result from this project will either be able to connect directly to the rest of the Nordics or the EU countries, or that it can be used as a road map, says Garðar Kristinsson Thorlacius.
Garðar Kristinsson Thorlacius is one of the speakers at the Nordic side event in New York on 13 June. The side event focuses on strategies for co-creation on developing digital solutions for persons with disabilities. Everone is welcome to follow the live stream from the event.
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