Handbooks of Research on Public Policy series
Chapter 26: How technology is reshaping the processes of providing health care for ageing populations
Depending on one’s world-view and which predictions of the future they align with, how we live and how health care is delivered could differ in a variety of ways from the situation in the 2010s. Other chapters in this book detail the demographic changes taking place globally that show rapidly ageing populations. A widespread concern among policy makers is that people are living longer – and considerably longer in retirement. Advances in medicine mean that diseases associated with ageing that were once untreatable or meant sure death can now be treated, often at high cost. This, combined with a declining workforce, is driving questions around how the health care needs of older people will be paid for and provided (OECD, 2005). Yet demographic changes and the advancement of medicine are occurring in parallel with the exponential growth in application of information and communications technology (ICT) to health care and a range of associated aspects of the world we live in. ICT is rapidly changing the context within which people age, how they live, and how their health care needs are provided for. ICT has the potential to both intensify health care delivery and further extend life expectancy, but also to disburden health care systems and provide better information for health professionals as services become increasingly personalized, situated in homes and communities, and focused on preventing disease and illness.
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