The Complexities of Technology-Based Care: Telecare as Perceived by Care Practitioners

Andrew Eccles


Telecare, which offers ‘care at a distance’ (Pols, 2012) through a variety of remote monitoring technologies, has developed rapidly across health and social care policy in many developed countries. Nonetheless, approaches to this development differ; the focus of this paper is the United Kingdom, where implementation has been particularly rapid and ambitious in scope. The paper argues that, while there are clear and tangible benefits from the use of some telecare technologies, there is insufficient research about the complexities of implementation with end users. These complexities include ethical questions raised by the use of monitoring and surveillance equipment, the ability to fine tune technologies to the needs of individuals, and the way in which care relationships may be altered by remote care mediated through technologies. This paper addresses these issues through a particularly under researched area; that is, the perceptions of care practitioners who assess for, and interact with, these technologies. The research was conducted with practitioners using qualitative research methodology. The paper concludes that Telecare practice is uneven in the way it addresses complexities and that more needs to be done to understand the way in which technologies are discussed and utilised by those charged with their implementation. 

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Issues in Social Science  ISSN 2329-521X


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