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01.12.2014 | Original Article | Ausgabe 4/2014

Health Care Analysis 4/2014

Remote Monitoring or Close Encounters? Ethical Considerations in Priority Setting Regarding Telecare

Health Care Analysis > Ausgabe 4/2014
Anders Nordgren


The proportion of elderly in society is growing rapidly, leading to increasing health care costs. New remote monitoring technologies are expected to lower these costs by reducing the number of close encounters with health care professionals, for example the number of visits to health care centres. In this paper, I discuss issues of priority setting raised by this expectation. As a starting-point, I analyse the recent debate on principles for priority setting in Sweden. The Swedish debate illustrates that developing an approach to priority setting is an ongoing process. On the basis of this analysis, I conclude that several different ethical principles, and specifications of these principles, can be appealed to for giving priority—over close encounters—to a large-scale introduction of remote monitoring technologies in health care services to elderly people, but also that many specifications can be appealed to against giving such priority. I propose that given the different views on principles, it is necessary to develop fair procedures of deliberation on these principles and their application, in particular in order to reach agreement on exactly how much resources should be allocated to remote monitoring and how much to close encounters. I also present a few points to consider in a large-scale introduction of remote monitoring.

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