The interplay of law and innovation in ICT-supported independent living of older people in the USA and Europe - a case comparison
DG Information Society & Media European Commission Brussels, Belgium
Over recent years, public policy has increasingly been stressing the growing potential of independent and assisted living solutions for older people. Expectations are high that new technologies including information and communication technologies (ICT) will help to realise a triple win: increased quality of life, new business opportunities, and reduced cost of health and social care. To stimulate technological innovation, national governments in Europe and elsewhere and the European Union provide significant R&D support, such as through the Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) program and the EU´s 7th Framework Programme.
It is well recognised that the perceived potential can only be realised if technology innovation is combined with non-technological innovation e.g. innovation in information provision to elderly persons, social communication and community support, care service delivery, business models, and also in partnerships. Social and market legislation, for example the regulation of reimbursement schemes is a major conditioning factor in particular for these forms of innovation. Legislation and innovation should take into account changing perceptions and practices of aging. What is needed is to combine insights of the sociology of aging, innovation, and public policy.
This paper presents some results of a comparative study of cases from the USA and Europe in the field of ICT-supported independent living of older persons, analysing the interplay between legislation and innovation in order to inform future public policy design.