This paper aims to report on a structured attempt to develop new directions for research into telecare. Current research evidence suggests that telecare in the UK is not optimally cost-effective and does not deliver better outcomes than more traditional forms of care and support. To address this problem, an analysis of expert opinion about future directions for research is provided.Design/methodology/approachTwo electronic surveys of UK based academic experts were conducted. Participants were drawn from a range of professional disciplines, including medicine, social care, occupational therapy and social policy and identified were by their contribution in this, or allied fields. The first survey included nine questions intended to identify at least one new research question that could form the basis of a funding proposal to the Nuffield Foundation, which provided “seedcorn” funding to support this work. Ten themes were identified following thematic analysis. The second survey asked participants to prioritise three of these themes.FindingsKey themes emerging as priority areas for future research were as follows: the role of assessment in ensuring technology deployment meets the needs of service users; ethical implications of technology and how these might be addressed in the future; and the use of end user co-production/co-creation approaches in the development of new assistive technologies and digital enabled care.Research limitations/implicationsThe findings are based on academic expert opinion; perspectives of practitioners, service users and family members are unrepresented.Practical implicationsThe findings of this study could contribute to development of new directions for telecare research, and future strategic funding decisions in this rapidly changing field.Originality/valueEvidence for sub-optimal outcomes for telecare requires new thinking. The authors are not aware of any other study that offers an analysis of expert opinion of fruitful areas for new research into telecare.
Journal of Enabling Technologies – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 8, 2021
Keywords: Telecare; Enabling technology; Expert opinion; Future areas for research; New priorities; Optimising impact and effectiveness