Impact assessmentin eCare & the Ageing Society
For Europe and in many countries around the word, demographic developments have significant implications for social care and healthcare systems and for the provision of care services. There will be more older people in absolute and relative terms, and more very old people likely to need more intensive and diverse support. At the same time it is expected that the number of carers will decrease due to societal and economic reasons.
Finding ways of sustaining or improving care outcomes with limited financial resources becomes increasingly challenging. New technology applications can help address these challenges. But making the case for investment in these services and applications requires robust evaluation, not only to demonstrate that eCare works, but also to show how and in what context. Any technological intervention and implementation has to be evidence-based. Reliable evidence is becoming a prerequisite for political decisions on changing or implementing new technologies, routines and interventions.
Interventions in the area of eCare are in most cases complex interventions building upon a number of components that may act independently or interdependently and involving and affecting a range of stakeholders. Reliable evaluation of these interventions requires methods that deal with the complexity of the care environment and its different stakeholders. We have in-depth knowledge and expertise in careful study design and a complex set of qualitative and quantitative evaluation methods, their advantages and caveats.
From a European perspective, the provision of ICT-supported integrated care has to address a heterogeneous array of regional care ‘eco-systems’. The decision on a study design always needs to consider local circumstances as well as the objective to be reached. The choice of design must always be clearly stated and explained. We offer our clients and partners the optimal mix of methods for their objectives, including quantitative approaches such as RCT study designs, control group designs, before and after measures, post-hoc evaluations and reference data comparisons; qualitative research methods such as focus groups, observations, case studies; and in-depth process evaluations.