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The critical link: opportunities presented by carers

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Populations are ageing – in 2007, the number of pensioners outnumbered children for the first time in UK history – but the healthcare system is not designed to cope with caring for this ageing population. The market for in home monitoring devices is growing but these devices do not necessarily take into account informal carers who are involved in the daily lives of those they care for. We set out to explore how carers can be assisted by new technologies that are designed to help them in their everyday lives. We met with carers in their homes to discuss their day to day lives. Carers present different circumstances; from a mother caring for her heavily disabled child, to a husband looking after his wife with a long term condition, to a daughter caring for her elderly parents. And they all have a story to tell. We encountered tears, laughter, and a deep sense of determination to do the best for the person they care for. We discussed their encounters with the healthcare system and the professionals within it, the tools and technology they use, their experiences and the impact caring has had on their lives. We identified a set of emerging themes and used these to generate new opportunities for products and services that can support carers in their daily life.

— Dr. Rachel Jones has over 20 years experience in creating breakthrough digital technologies. Rachel founded Instrata in 2001 with the aim of helping organizations to evolve services and create new opportunities that deliver greater value by learning from their customers. Instrata is a recognized leader in service innovation, customer experience, ethnography and user-centered interactive design. It has an excellent track record across a variety of industries, building a significant reputation for our expertise in digital technologies. Instrata has been conducting global projects for ten years and has worked with clients such as the BBC , BT, Microsoft, Nesta, Nokia, Orange, Oxfam, P&G, Reuters, Rim, Skype, Virgin, Vodafone and Yahoo. Dr. Rachel Jones has worked at two of the foremost pioneers of user-centered techniques in design, Xerox EuroPARC and Sapient (formerly E-lab). Rachel has a PhD in Computer Studies, over 30 international publications and has authored 10 patents.

This talk is part of the Engineering Design Centre series.

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