Technology could be used more widely to provide care remotely across Fife.
The proposal has emerged as health and social care leaders consider ways to plug a multi million pound funding gap.
Greater use of tele-healthcare, which employs technology and equipment to support people at home, is among the ideas being suggested.
A rise in social care charges has also been proposed, although Fife Council, which has the say on charging policy, has indicated this would not be feasible.
Fife Health and Social Care Partnership is facing a £10.9 million deficit for this year and is anticipating a further funding gap of up to £7.1 million for 2019/20.
Chief finance officer Jen McPhail told the partnership’s integration joint board (IJB) the partnership funded by NHS Fife and Fife Council was continuing to face “significant financial challenge”.
She said: “It is critical as we move forward that the proposals … are understood and that members and partners are prepared to take difficult decisions through governance structures and the board to ensure financial sustainability for the partnership.”
Pressure on the partnership’s purse strings is growing due to the cost of caring for the kingdom’s ageing population.
Wages bills, medicine costs and overspends carried over from previous years are also factors, coupled with a failure to deliver expected savings.
Ms McPhail said cost-cutting ideas which had previously been ruled out may have to return to the table.
“A significant number of rejected budget savings proposals have been presented to the IJB since inception, which are more sensitive, and these will require to be resubmitted for approval for next year’s budget and the financial strategy,” she said.
Key areas rejected previously by the IJB that would deliver “substantial savings” include charging across social care services —a move that would bring Fife into line with the rest of Scotland — and alternative delivery models.
If approved, she Ms McPhail said social care charging would initially be at the lower end of the spectrum, and would be a way of ensuring services are not removed altogether.
She said tele-healthcare was already used by other health and social care partnerships and implementing a strategy in this area should be a matter of urgency for Fife.
Detailed business cases will be presented at a later date.