If the market’s expanding, where’s the telecare and TEC boom?

A question this Editor’s been asking since 2007, wondering why the rising tide of the market isn’t lifting the business boats. Adrian Scaife’s brief article on the TSA blog rhetorically asks the question and speculates on some answers. Mr. Scaife starts with the Care Technology Landscape Review’s [TTA 18 July] simple fact that growth in the UK has been flat for the past decade at 1.7m users nationally. Yet the demographics, social care dynamics, and the desire to live independently at home, enabled by more accessible and usable technology, should mean otherwise. 

Some of the reasons why are addressed in the Care Technology report: the industry’s focus on bright shiny tech, what sells to organizations versus emerging needs–and not focusing on benefits to the end users or ‘design and delight in the way the solutions look’ (the Apple paradigm). As Mr. Scaife put it, “It is perhaps not surprising consumers are currently voting with their feet!”

What might get the feet going in the other direction?  A “new generation of telecare that builds on existing services” that “delivers proactive, preventative, consumer friendly services with positive reassurance”. The difference is that this can be enabled by both “interoperable devices” (that shiny tech) but integrated with data that can provide that proactive insight. But those insights must be supported by a health and social care structure, more in place in the UK than in the US, for instance–and that may require the transformation first versus later. Why Isn’t Our TEC Industry Booming?

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