Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW)

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 309–343 | Cite as

From Episodes to Continuity of Care: a Study of a Call Center for Supporting Independent Living

  • Babak A. FarshchianEmail author
  • Thomas Vilarinho
  • Marius Mikalsen


Call centers are a central coordination hub for remote health services and telemedicine. Recently, also telecare providers use call centers to support the remote care of seniors living independently. Although we know that the quality of the interaction between caregiver and senior care recipient is important, there is a gap in our knowledge as to how ICT solutions can support this interaction through a call center model. In this paper, we describe a case study of a modern call center designed to provide services for independent living, primarily for seniors. The case study gives us new insight into how service providers envision ICT support for independent living in the future. We discuss our findings from interviews, observations and design workshops in light of relevant literature about independent living and call centers. We conclude with a set of directions for future ICT for call centers to support independent living of seniors. These tools should: 1) support continuity of care instead of episodes of care, 2) support caregiving activities in addition to medical triage activities, 3) support “technical caregiving” i.e. remote use, testing and maintenance of technology at home, and 4) support call center operators in leading ad hoc and emergent coordination in distributed teams.


Call center Independent living Aging in place Assistive technology Quality of client provider interaction Personalization Caregiving Emergent coordination in distributed teams Remote technology maintenance Continuous care 



This research is funded by the EU FP7 projects FARSEEING (Grant Agreement No. 288940) and OPTET (Grant Agreement No. 317631), and by the Norwegian Research Council project ADAPT (Grant Agreement No. 317631). We thank the participants from the municipality, and Nils Brede Moe, Erlend Stav and Yngve Dahl from SINTEF for help with conducting workshops and interviews. We thank our anonymous reviewers and the editor of the CSCW Journal for constructive comments to the earlier versions of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Babak A. Farshchian
    • 1
    Email author
  • Thomas Vilarinho
    • 1
  • Marius Mikalsen
    • 1
  1. 1.SINTEF DigitalTrondheimNorway

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