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The Future of Ageing – Stakeholder Involvement on the Future of Care

Marianne Barland, Pierre Delvenne and Benedikt Rosskamp

Abstract: Barland et al. describe an example project showcasing the strengths of technology assessment methodology in structuring stakeholder dialogues in a cross-European context. The authors provide an in-depth account of the method design choices made and their underlying rationale. Beyond the buzzword, well-structured and transparent stakeholder dialogue can help to balance difficult issues of policy priority – in this case by balancing the contributions of technological innovation against social reorganization as a means of securing sustainable future health-care service for senior citizens. The article shows the added value of multi-site dialogues based in national debates but linked to the European policy development process.

Klьver, Lars, Rasmus Шjvind Nielsen, and Marie Louise Jшrgensen, eds. Policy-Oriented Technology Assessment Across Europe: Expanding Capacities. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. doi: 10.1057/9781137561725.0017.

Figuring out how we can cope with ageing societies is one of the grand challenges identified in the Lund Declaration. The demographic composition of the world is changing, and projections show that in the next 35 years the number of people over 60 years will double, while those aged 80 or older will quadruple. At the same time, the available workforce in the care sector will decrease to a point where the need for care will surpass the available resources. This development challenges existing health-care systems in Europe, and in order to have a sustainable system in the future, one needs to rethink policies related to health care.

The European Commission's 'Digital Agenda for Europe' pointed to technology as part of the solution for addressing the challenges raised by ageing society. The strategy states that new information and communication technology (ICT) capabilities could support ageing citizens, revolutionize health care and provide better public service. But barring the way to any easy technological fix are critical issues, which must be tackled to ensure a sustainable health-care system. Technology will likely be an integral part of such a system, but there will also be a need for substantial social and organizational change to reorganize health-care services in Europe.

To illustrate the value of stakeholder dialogues structured through TA methodology, PACITA organized a cross-European assessment experiment aimed at investigating how technological innovation along with social reorganization could contribute to creating sustainable health-care services for European seniors in the different societal situations of member states.

The project's goal was twofold: (1) to identify opportunities, challenges and barriers as well as policy options for the use of technology in the health-care sector and (2) to train and exchange knowledge on the method of scenario workshops among the project partners and, hence, to increase the national knowledge base for policy making. The result of the project was a series of policy options and recommendations.

 
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