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Challenges of Mainstreaming Telecare. Exploring Actualization of Telecare Affordances in Home Care Services

Abstract

Application of telecare has received increased attention as a means to address the future care needs in home care services. However, the uptake of telecare has been slow and fewer solutions than expected have been implemented. Healthcare employees’ perspectives on telecare and organizational issues have not received appropriate attention in earlier research. There is a need to understand the challenges related to telecare services. Through the lens of affordance theory, the present study aims to explore municipal employees` experiences of TCS. The study contributes to affordance theory by developing an understanding of the collective actualization process. Focus group interviews were conducted with 26 employees involved in telecare services in eight municipalities in Southern Norway. Findings reveal that successful actualization of the seven perceived telecare affordances required involvement of several actors, new ways of working and close cooperation within the municipalities across units and disciplines. Furthermore, the actualization process was strongly influenced by contextual factors. The most prominent factors included anchoring and cooperation, competence and knowledge, and routines and follow-up. Findings indicate that specific focus on these factors is needed in order to succeed with mainstreaming of telecare in home care services.
Key words: actualization, affordance theory, healthcare, home care, organization, technology, telecare