Care at a distance: nightmare or promise?
Vendredi 30 Mars 2018

Événement organisé par Florence Degavre
Vendredi 30 Mars 2018, 10-13h, Institut de Sociologie, avenue Jeanne 44 à 1050 Bruxelles ; 15ème niveau – Salle Henri Janne, ULB

Par Jeannette Pols, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Faculty of Behavioral & Social Sciences ; University of Amsterdam

Proponents and opponents of telecare innovations are making lots of noise, but at the same time, lots of dust clouds these innovations. It is simply unclear what telecare technology can achieve in care. Promises, nightmares, and dreams of efficiency have taken the place of knowledge and facts in the debate. Telecare promises to support care for a rapidly ageing population, when fewer younger people will be available to care for a rising number of older people with chronic diseases. It is also supposed to help patients manage their own care even better. In addition to claims for the more efficient use of personnel capacity, there is a very different efficiency promise: telecare will reduce the cost of health care. The inevitable nightmares, on the other hand, are full of grim images of care turned cold. Older people, instead of moving into a care institution when their minds and bodies start to fail, will have to stay at home, surrounded by all kinds of cold mechanical devices, receiving no support from caring people. Actually, we do not know how telecare works, and market/soapbox policies for telecare development are not reassuring. Jeanette Pols takes a different approach from soapbox speeches, market transactions, or the project evaluation study. Her analysis aims to develop a better way ofthinking about technological innovations in care. Is it possible to develop reliable knowledge to support innovation? What would be useful to know? How could decision makers improve the process of telecare development? To address these questions, she analyses and compares various pioneer telecare practices in the Netherlands, using an ethnographic approach to gain insight into how telecare changes health care.

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