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Research program: Digital Shapeshifting

Digital Shapeshifting is a research program within the area of Health-promoting worklife. The aim of the program is to attempt to understand the various ways in which digitalisation can be health-promoting.

Digital Shapeshifting is an interdisciplinary research program that explores the relationship between digitalization and health promotion efforts. The research analyzes how digitalization is transforming professional roles, work processes, organizational structures, and relationships between professionals and their clients/patients/students, etc. The program explores both opportunities and challenges from a societal perspective, with a particular focus on issues of inclusion, sustainable work practices, continuous learning, and digital competence. Overall, the research aims to shape a digital existence that promotes well-being, counteracts stress and inequality, and leads to enriched relationships and strengthened professionalism. Research on digitalization and health promotion also integrates ethical aspects into the societal challenges identified below. The program aims to contribute new knowledge on how we can utilize the opportunities of digitalization while managing its risks and challenges.

Overarching Societal Challenges:

a) Ensuring that digitalization within health promotion is inclusive and does not marginalize certain groups.

b) Developing socially, economically, and ecologically sustainable digital work practices that promote well-being and counteract stress.

Examples of overarching questions being explored include:

  • How are various professional roles and professions transformed by digitalization?
  • What new competencies are required in a digitalized work environment?
  • How is the relationship between professionals and clients/students/patients affected?
  • What are the ethical implications of digitalization within various fields of operation?

The program's research focuses on three spheres

  1. Digitalization of Work Progress and Organizational Structures
  2. Digital Competence, Education and Learning
  3. Changing Relationships and Professional Roles

Sphere 1: Digitalization of Work Processes and Organizational Structures

This sphere focuses on how digital tools and technologies are transforming the execution and organization of work across various professions. The research investigates new digital work processes and organizational forms that are emerging, as well as their consequences for efficiency, work environment, and well-being.

Specific Societal Challenge:
To develop socially, economically, and ecologically sustainable digital work processes that promote well-being and counteract stress.

Example Questions:

  • How are work processes and flows altered when they are digitalized?
  • What new organizational and leadership forms are enabled by digitalization?
  • How are the work environment and well-being affected as work becomes increasingly digitalized?

Integrated Ethics:

Digitalization offers new opportunities but also risks as the work landscape changes. Research should therefore explore the processes triggered by new digital work processes and automation and their consequences for human labor. Central questions include how to promote well-being and counteract stress in a digitalized workday. Ethical aspects such as privacy, surveillance, and control also need to be analyzed as work becomes digitalized.

Sphere 2: Digital Competence, Education, and Learning

This sphere focuses on the digital competence required in today's and future work environments. The research investigates the need for continuous, lifelong learning to maintain digital competence across various professions. It also aims to develop effective ways to educate for digital competence. High digital competence is a prerequisite for utilizing the opportunities of digitalization and minimizing the risks.

Specific Societal Challenge:
To educate for digital competence while maintaining professional autonomy.

Example Questions:

  • What digital competencies are needed in various professions today and in the future?
  • How can one effectively educate for digital competence?
  • How can professionals maintain digital competence through continuous learning?

Integrated Ethics:

Research should explore how to ensure that everyone has access to education to achieve digital competence. This involves avoiding a digital knowledge gap between different groups in society. As governance through manuals and algorithms emerges, professional autonomy and experience-based knowledge need to be safeguarded in the workplace.

Sphere 3: Changing Relationships and Professional Roles

This sphere investigates how relationships between professionals and their clients/patients/students are changing due to digitalization. As work becomes more technology-mediated, interpersonal aspects are affected. The research analyzes how professional roles are redefined and what ethical questions this raises. The goal is to understand how digital tools can be used to enrich relationships and strengthen professionalism.

Specific Societal Challenge:
To ensure that digitalization within the workforce is inclusive and does not marginalize certain groups.

Example Questions:

  • How do digital tools affect relationships between professionals and clients/patients/students, etc.?
  • How are various professional roles redefined by increased digitalization and automation?
  • What ethical questions arise when professions and relationships are digitalized?

Integrated Ethics:

Research should investigate risks such as digital tools creating distance between professionals and their clients. Inclusion is an important issue—how can one counteract the exclusion of certain groups in a digitalized workday? At the same time, there are opportunities to enrich relationships through digital tools, which should also be studied.


If you are interested in further information about health-promoting digitalisation and how you can contribute to finding the solution to societal challenges, you are very welcome to get in touch with any of the researchers that are part of the program.

A selection of ongoing research

  • The dark side of digitalisation in primary care – unannounced careseekers affect the psychosocial work environment
  • Digital educational intervention for nurses within municipal healthcare
  • Digital continuity of patient care

Latest publications

Here are the ten most recent publications from Digital Shapeshifting.

Crafoord, M., Sundberg, K., Nilsson, M., Fjell, M. & Langius-Eklöf, A. (2023). Patients' Individualized Care Perceptions and Health Literacy Using an Interactive App During Breast and Prostate Cancer Treatment. Computers, Informatics, Nursing, 41 (9), 706-716. 10.1097/cin.0000000000001007 [Mer information]
Masoumi, D. & Noroozi, O. (2023). Developing early career teachers’ professional digital competence: a systematic literature review. European Journal of Teacher Education. 10.1080/02619768.2023.2229006 [Mer information]
Salzmann-Erikson, M. (2023). Digital inclusion: A mixed-method study of user behavior and content on Twitter. Digital Health, 9. 10.1177/20552076231211277 [Mer information]
Salzmann-Erikson, M. & Eriksson, H. (2023). A Mapping Review of Netnography in Nursing. Qualitative Health Research, 33 (8-9), 701-714. 10.1177/10497323231173794 [Mer information]
Zammit, D., Tomaselli, G., Buttigieg, S., Garg, L. & Macassa, G. (2023). Digital virtual consultations and improved stakeholders’ health and wellbeing amongst hospital doctors. Sustainability, 15 (5). 10.3390/su15054428 [Mer information]
Andersson, J., Cole, E. & Trygged, S. (2022). När hjälpen finns på Facebook : Om försummade behov och nya hjälpformer. Socialmedicinsk Tidskrift, 99 (4), 509-521. Länk [Mer information]
Ramasamy, L., Khan, F., Shah, M., Prasad, B., Iwendi, C. & Biamba, C. (2022). Secure Smart Wearable Computing through Artificial Intelligence-Enabled Internet of Things and Cyber-Physical Systems for Health Monitoring. Sensors, 22 (3). 10.3390/s22031076 [Mer information]
Salzmann-Erikson, M. (2023). Integrating technology in aged care: challenges, opportunities, and a nursing lens. Contemporary Nurse : health care across the lifespan, 59 (6), 413-415. 10.1080/10376178.2023.2291119 [Mer information]
Andersson, R. & Björsell, N. (2023). The Technical Challenges in Orthotic Exoskeleton Robots with Future Directions: a Review Paper. : IEEE. 10.1109/ITIKD56332.2023.10099850 [Mer information]
Blomqvist, E., Lindecrantz, M., Blomsma, F., Lambrix, P. & De Meester, B. (2022). Decentralized Digital Twins of Circular Value Networks - A Position Paper. Proceedings of the Third International Workshop on Semantic Digital Twins : Co-located with the 19th Extended Semantic Web Conference (ESWC 2022): CEUR Workshop Proceedings. Länk [Mer information]

To see all publications from the Digital Shapeshifting research program, visit the research program page in DiVA


Programme Officer

Annakarin Olsson, Senior lecturer in Caring Science
E-mail: annakarin.olsson@hig.se

Martin Salzmann-Erikson, Ph.D., Associate Professor in Nursing Science
E-mail: martin.salzmann@hig.se

Sven Trygged, Professor in Social Work
E-mail: sven.trygged@hig.se

Published by: Catarina Carlsson Page responsible: Veronica Liljeroth Updated: 2023-12-04
Högskolan i Gävle
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