The global population is ageing. In the coming decades, the proportion of elderly persons will increase dramatically, leading to a corresponding increase in the disease burden to society. Policy makers in public welfare are concerned about the resulting resource deficit and pressure on the welfare state. Increased efficiency and innovation in the health and welfare services are presented as solutions to this situation. The development and use of new technology are central aspects of this solution. Sound use of new technology should facilitate care delivery without compromising care ethics in the relationship between users and professionals. There is currently scarce knowledge about the care ethical aspects of technological innovation, also within current technology-mediated care practices. We have identified two serious ethical discrepancies that comprise a knowledge gap. Firstly, society's current drive for new technology is care-ethically ignorant and secondly, there is an absence of technology-awareness within care ethical theory. This presents us with a substantial societal, cultural and scientific challenge. QUALITECH addresses this knowledge-deficit in order to secure quality care in a future with increasingly technology-mediated caring practices. This will be done by investigating the care ethical tensions between society's drive for a greater number of novel technologies in today's health, care and welfare services on the one hand, and traditional, long-standing and relationship-based professional care cultures on the other. We revisit classic care ethics, but our goal is to re-define state of the art care ethical theory. The project takes the role of technology in caring practices and relationships seriously at a crucial time of reinvention of public welfare. This benefits users in primary and specialist healthcare, welfare services and society. The project safeguards that the increasing use of new technology in care corresponds with quality in technology-mediated care practices for users and professionals. In addition, our research will safeguard care ethics perspectives, with implications for practice, policy and education. QUALITECH will create a new care ethics paradigm to inform and ensure quality of care in caring futures.
Demographic projections indicate an increasingly elderly population with a greater disease burden and a corresponding resource deficit in health, care and welfare services. Efficient and innovative service organization are put forth as solutions to these demands. Implementation of new Technology is part of the solution. However, the evidence on ethical implications of technological innovation in current technology-mediated care practices is scarce. New technology should facilitate care delivery without compromising care ethics. However, leading policy discourses downplay this moral
imperative. Hence, the assumed benefits of new technology in future care are not clear. We have identified a serious ethical discrepancy emerging from current splits between a care-ethically ignorant societal technology-drive and technology-ignorant care ethical theory; a substantial societal, cultural and scientific challenge. A new knowledge base is therefore urgently needed to secure our caring futures. QUALITECH is a research project emerging
from this knowledge-deficit, as an intervention to secure quality care in a future with increasingly technology-mediated practices. We do so firstly, by cross-sectoral empirical research on care ethical tensions between the current calls for more technologies in contemporary health, care and welfare services on the one hand, and long-standing, deep-rooted relational and professional traditional care cultures on the other. Secondly, we revisit care ethics to redevelop state of the art care ethical theory at a crucial time of reinvention of public welfare, to the benefit of users in primary and specialist
healthcare, welfare services, and to society as a whole. Project outcomes will contribute to securing that increasing use of technology in care corresponds with quality in care for users, with implications for practice, policy and education. QUALITECH offers a new care ethics paradigm to inform andsafeguard quality of care in caring futures.