Design and implementation – never the twain shall meet? Siloed communities of practice in English technology-enabled care services
31 January 2022
Dr Matthew Lariviere, University of Bristol
Increased demand for services, population ageing, and chronic workforce shortages have changed the care ecosystem and its anticipated sustainability. More than ever, technology is viewed as a solution for an ailing care system. Technology-enabled care services have relied on simple assistive technologies, such as social alarms and legacy telecare products, to support older people living in the community. In the last ten years, we have seen an increasing emphasis from industry, government departments, and some local authorities embrace digital technology to ‘modernise’ care systems and arrangements. One challenge for new digital technology, like other complex interventions, is the capacity to which they can become quickly and sustainably embedded into care services and systems.
Drawing on a recently completed ESRC-funded study, this seminar will explore one limitation that affects the capacity for new digital technology to penetrate care services: the divide between technology developers and actors responsible for their implementation in care systems. Care providers, technology designers and developers, and people with lived experience have championed the importance of co-production to ensure care experienced individuals can inform the design of new care service delivery models and complex interventions, like technology-enabled care products. This ‘user involvement’ or ‘patient and public involvement’ has increased over the last five years in care services and with human-centred designers.
However, these two communities of practice exist in divided, isolated silos with what appears to be little direct engagement with each other. Emergent technology may create a satisfying user experience for older people or carers; however, innovators do not always have the knowledge, network or skills to understand the care system, procurement, and localised service delivery models to sustain their business beyond interminable ‘pilotitis’ projects. I argue that collaborative, co-production techniques should be extended to agents across the whole care ecosystem to improve the spread, scale, and sustainability of new digital technology implemented in care settings.
Matthew Lariviere is a Lecturer in Social Policy in the School for Policy Studies at the University of Bristol. He is a social anthropologist whose teaching and research investigates the intersections of ageing, care, and technology. More specifically, Matthew’s research encompasses theoretical, empirical, creative, and applied approaches to explore: care and ageing futures; geographies and materialities of care and caring; innovative design and evaluation approaches for digital health and care services; and digital transformation in/of health and social care arrangements and systems. Deeply committed to interdisciplinary and external engagement, Matthew has delivered public engagement workshops and exhibitions throughout the UK and convened policy and practice knowledge exchange events in the UK, Europe, Australia, and the Americas. He tweets as @MattLariv.