Towards a Sociological Critique of Digital Health
Today, a new generation of mobile digital technologies, such as smartphones, tablet computers, and wearable watches are increasingly embedded into the organisation and practices of healthcare, particularly in the context of the ever-expanding ‘self-care’ agenda. Being the products of the Web 2.0 era, these technologies offer novel means of patient-provider communication, new opportunities for monitoring bodily conditions and health behaviours and remote and instant access to personal health data. Medical sociologists are currently studying these technological advances and investigating how they create new realities where ‘active patients’ are demanded and new conceptions of health, illness and care emerge. This session invites theoretical and empirical contributions that provide a critical sociological analysis of the nature and consequences of digitised healthcare. Contributions may address the following questions:
-How is the generation and production of health knowledge affected by datafication and quantification?
-How do digital care pathways affect the relationships between patients and health professionals?
-How do digital devices create new regulatory regimes to control patients’ health behaviour?
-How do patients experience digital health technologies and what emotions and identities do they create?
-How are digital technologies utilised in healthcare provision and how do they affect work practices and professionals’ roles?
By bringing together a set of papers from researchers working on these issues the session aims to contribute towards a sociological critique of digital health.