Crump, N (2010) Evaluation of BT Telecare Pilot Project. Working Paper. The Department of Organisation, Work and Technology, Lancaster University.
Telecare can be defined as a mechanism for providing health and social services 'at a distance' - usually into the user's home - through the use of information and communication technologies. Through utilising affordable and uncomplicated technology, care providers can unobtrusively monitor the user's safety and security. In addition, more sophisticated Telecare systems - such as that developed by BT - afford the possibility of monitoring the user's physiology and activity over time, thus giving early indications of declining health and facilitating the increasing shift toward preventative, community-based care. Telecare can thus be seen to address a range of current government policies. The research shows that participants in the pilot considered that Telecare facilitated an increased sense of wellbeing amongst users, and served as a useful and flexible tool for healthcare practitioners. However, as with many other such initiatives - organisational barriers continue to impede the implementation of technology. It is suggest that this is partly caused by the Government's failure to promote and facilitate the funding of Telecare beyond the pilot stage. But it is also the result of the way in which pilot projects are conceived as the testing of fully formed systems on a small scale, rather than part of an inclusive, informed, development process leading to the undertaking of a major piece of research. In conclusion it is highlighted that future pilot projects should be much more inclusive of key stakeholders, and be conceived of as integral to the local development process. Further, pilot projects need an effective 'champion' at a strategic level, such that developments are not marginalised during the course of the project.
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