Care at a distance : on the closeness of technology by Jeannette Pols
By Jeannette Pols
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Extra info for Care at a distance : on the closeness of technology
Keeping up old standards: correcting telecare Another general objection to putting telecare to work is that devices presumably standardise care at the expense of individually tailored care (see Chapter 2). This is not valid for webcam telecare but may apply to other devices. The next example is from a hospital ward for heart failure patients. There was a clash between a particular norm of good ‘care as usual’ and the norms inscribed in the educational device, a variant of the white box. The educational device tried to implement a general norm for the right way of living with heart failure.
The patients used comparative expressions related to space, time, order and size. These terms provide criteria for shaping the right scale for matters to do with illness and care (not too much, not too little). The categories run through the dichotomies of coldness and warmth, opening up a different set of concerns. Building relations through the white box Sparrow & Sparrow’s greatest worry, the most prominent commonsense fear of technology, is that machines will replace all human contact, making care cold by reducing it to mechanical interactions with machines.
The individuals shared particular characteristics, even if the device did not address them, in a completely individualised way. g. patients who do not contact their doctors in time). Note that the patients were not passive in making things fit. Patients could also establish a fit when they refused to use the device, brought it back, or took time and possibilities to adapt to its questions. This stopped mismatches turning into problems, as I discuss below. Fits are relational products, as are warmth and coldness.