Telecare at home: Anticipating conflicting norms in telemonitoring technologies ...

Telecare at home: Anticipating conflicting norms in telemonitoring technologies for chronic


UT team: Professor Nelly Oudshoorn (principal investigator) Ivo Maathuis (PhD student) dr. Asle Kiran (postdoc) professor Peter Paul Verbeek; professor Hermie Hermens and Dr. ir. Val Jones.

This 4 year project (2009-2013) was financed by the NWO program Societal Responsible Innovation.

This research aimed to increase understanding of how engineers can anticipate conflicting norms

concerning surveillance and autonomy implied by the use of telemonitoring technologies. These

ICT technologies can be used to monitor or diagnose patients at home and are widely claimed to

have the potential to improve the quality of health care. The adoption of these technologies implies a transition in health care because they challenge existing distributions of tasks and responsibilities, including norms of care. On the one hand, telemonitoring technologies aim to increase the responsibility of patients and nurses for monitoring diseases, thus bringing more control and autonomy to patients’ lives and nurses’ work. On the other hand, telemonitoring applications are expected to replace people and take over responsibilities and control for monitoring diseases.

These conflicting norms play an important role in the acceptance of these innovative

technologies. The central question of the proposed research was therefore: How can

telemonitoring technologies be developed to achieve a careful balance between surveillance

by technological devices and control and autonomy of patients and nurses? To answer this

question, we conducted constructive, ethical technology assessment in which we investigated

the design and use practices relating to use of telemonitoring devices in chronic care that are

currently developed and implemented in Europe. Based on these insights, we developed tools

that can support engineers to find a balance between these conflicting norms.

A full overview of the publications of this project is available on request (