Tech enabled care is very much in vogue in the social care sector. With slashed budgets and a seemingly never ending increase in demand, technology is seen as the panacea to all the sectors troubles, but is it?
Technological change has been huge. We can all accept that our lives are very different now than even a few years ago, on the back of rapid digital technological advances. No part of our lives remains untouched and so why should our final years be any different?
Yet technology often over promises and under delivers. There is a belief that human interactions and activities can be boiled down into a simple set of tasks that can be performed by technology. This is simply not the case. Humans are social creatures and human contact is still by far the best way for humans to receive care.
Of course technology can help, especially with the performing of routine tasks and the monitoring of a person’s condition, yet this leads to potential further complications. The more we monitor, the more data we produce. The more data we produce the greater is the opportunity for this to go astray or be abused.
It will fall into the wrong hands, it always does and then individuals or caring organisations will be held to account, or to ransom over it. There is perhaps no more personal data than that related to health.
The data will be used by unscrupulous companies to charge more for services based upon a known level of suffering. The more you suffer the more you are prepared to pay. The data will be used by unscrupulous people as evidence when suing providers for lack of care. They will have all the evidence they need. The data will be used by care providers to cut the actual care package to the absolute minimum and finance will win out over the human touch.
Tech enabled care sounds like a great idea and no doubt it is, but beware. ‘It has always been the way that humans discover fire and then learn how not to burn our house down with it.’