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Journal Article

Developing Virtual Healthcare Systems in Complex Multi‑Agency Service Settings: the OLDES Project  pp163-170

Gregory Maniatopoulos, Ian McLoughlin, Rob Wilson

© Apr 2009 Volume 7 Issue 2, ECEG 2007, Editor: Frank Bannister, pp123 - 208

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Recent developments in internet and digital technologies offer increasing possibilities for transforming the delivery of care by virtual means. However, the care of older people presents challenges and issues at many levels. The realities of the world of older people and of the multiple institutions and agencies that provide care services for them have to be better understood if virtual services are to be configured appropriately. This paper presents the results of an action research exploration of the complexity of needs found in care environments and the difficulties of configuring services when delivered in multi‑agency settings (i.e. jointly across organizational, professional and occupational boundaries). The deployment of a computer‑based graphical demonstrator is illustrated as one means through which, visualizations of different socio‑technical scenarios can be generated. We suggest that this tool can support processes of shared sense making amongst care agencies and institutions. In so doing, it can provide the basis for facilitating more effective 'user' engagement with the design, development and implementation of virtual healthcare systems.


Keywords: socio-technical systems, healthcare, older people, virtual services, action research


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