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Developing a typology of mobile phone usage in social care: A critical review of the literature

Saltiel, David, Steels, Stephanie ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8603-9069 and Fenney, Deborah (2018) Developing a typology of mobile phone usage in social care: A critical review of the literature. Health & Social Care in the Community, 26 (4). pp. 449-457. ISSN 0966-0410

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The ways in which mobile phones have transformed the boundaries of time and space and the possibilities of communication have profoundly affected our lives. However, there is little research on the use of mobiles in social care though evidence is emerging that mobile phones can play an important role in delivering services. This paper is based on a scoping review of the international literature in this area. A typology of mobile interventions is suggested. While most mobile phone interventions remain unidirectional and sit within traditional social care service provider–service user relationships, a minority are bi‐ or multidirectional and contain within them the potential to transform these traditional relationships by facilitating a collective development of social networks and social capital. Such transformations are accompanied by a range of issues and dilemmas that have made many service providers reluctant to engage with new technologies. We suggest that our typology is a useful model to draw on when researching the use of mobile phones in social care to support and empower isolated, marginalised and vulnerable service users.

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