Anita Melander Wikman, associate professor of physical therapy, Luleå University of Technology. Photo: Erica Long

Precursor to government guidelines

Published: 4 September 2014

For ten years has Anita Melander Wikman, associate professor of physical therapy, collaborated closely with the persons involved in her research. The approach is about to have a major impact. Now the government is also raising the value of co-producers.

The recent guidelines from the government emhasis that patients, clients and dependents should be co-producers of the research, which will contribute to better health, welfare and community development.
- It is good that the government has acknowledged this in its guidelines. If we should we be able to help and support people, we must understand their needs, says Anita Melander Wikman, Luleå university of technology.

She believed years ago that if research in the health care should make a difference, the co-producers concerned must be involved.
- We can not do research on the basis of what we believe that patients need and want. Through collaboration among all stakeholders, patients, clients, staff, technicians and scientists, we can together examine what's possible. All are important and no one can dictate terms.

Anita Melander Wikmans long experience of a participatory approach means that she is requested. Right now she is involved in a number of projects with other universities. In collaboration with project manager Lillemor Lundin Olsson, Umeå University, she is working to develop an app with a fall prevention exercise program for elderly.
Along with the elderly, physical therapists in clinic and researchers at Uppsala University and Dalarna University designed a computer game in the "E-balance."
In a project on "Lifestyle changes in obesity" the goal is to develop an application for mobile phones that support lasting lifestyle changes. She works together with Sari-Anne Wiklund, PhD in physical therapy, Åsa Wikberg Nilsson, researchers in industrial design at Luleå University and Annika Lindahl Norberg, associate Professor of psychology, Uppsala University.

For Anita, it is important to work across boundaries and with stakeholders.
- This is a way of working and thinking is is about to have a major impact in health research. There is more understanding of co-operative learning, which is more conducive to the development of society.