Poll shows why we need to promote assistive technology

A survey of 2069 adults in the UK by YouGov, commissioned by charity Carers UK and supported by Tunstall Healthcare (UK), makes a strong case for the better promotion of telehealth & telecare, as we argued for in our recent post on the future of 3millionlives.

The Carers UK report, Potential for Change: Transforming public awareness and demand for health and care technologydraws an intriguing contrast between our willingness to use technology for activities such as shopping and banking, and our lack of knowledge of health and care technology that could help look after older or disabled relatives. When asked if they would use telecare without any description of it, just over 12% of adults in the UK said they would use it (which dropped to 7% of for over-65s), with 80% unsure what telecare is. Worse, less than 5% in any age group said they would look to technology as a top choice for support if caring affected them in the future.

However when telecare was described to respondents, the figures changed dramatically with almost 79% saying they would use it, so long as it was affordable. For over 65s this rose to 85%. (Only 5% of UK adults said they definitely would not consider using telecare.) This makes a strong case for Carers UK’s vision for technology & caring:

  • “A step-change in public and professional awareness of health and care technologies so that use and purchase of technology to support caring becomes a normal part of life and of professional practice.
  • Cross-Government action to identify and realise the potential of health and care technologies to support health and wellbeing, business growth and productivity, labour market participation, care workforce development and the sustainability of health and social care services.
  • A vibrant, accessible health and care technologies market focused on consumers, which delivers attractive, affordable products and services which reflect how families live and work.”

It also provides powerful evidence to support 3millionlives, the TSA, UK Telehealthcare, the Telehealth Forum, and doubtless others getting together to promote assistive technology more effectively in the UK.

The Carers UK press release summarising the highlights of the report is here.

This survey was carried out between 26 and 29 July. It is interesting to compare with the one as that we reported on, also done by YouGov, for the Telehealth Forum, which was carried out between 4 and 6 June 2013 and involved three fewer people, at 2066 in total.


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