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HELSEVEL-H-Gode og effektive helse-, omsorgs- og velferdstjenester

Caring Futures: Developing Care Ethics for Technology-mediated Care Practices (QUALITECH)

Alternative title: Omsorgsframtider: Utvikling av omsorgsetikk for teknologi-medierte omsorgspraksiser

Awarded: NOK 12.0 mill.

The world’s population is ageing. Older persons are dramatically increasing in number, with a greater disease burden in society. Policy makers in public welfare are concerned with the emergence of a corresponding resource deficit. Increased efficiency and innovation are presented as solutions to these new demands. Development and use of new technology is a central aspect 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 ethical aspects of technological innovation, also within current technology-mediated care practices. We have identified a serious ethical discrepancy between society’s drive for new technology that is care-ethically ignorant – and an absence of technology-awareness within care ethical theory. This discrepancy 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. QUALITECH investigates care ethical tensions between the current call for more and new technologies in today’s health, care and welfare services on the one hand, and long-standing, deep-rooted relationship-based and professional traditional care cultures on the other. We revisit classic care ethics to redevelop state of the art care ethical theory, which takes seriously the role of technology in caring practices and relationships at a crucial time of reinvention of public welfare. This benefits users in primary and specialist healthcare, welfare services, and society as a whole. The project safeguards that increasing use of new technology in care corresponds with quality in care for users and professionals, and its 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.

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HELSEVEL-H-Gode og effektive helse-, omsorgs- og velferdstjenester

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