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Beyond Techno-Utopia: Critical Approaches to Digital Health Technologies

Beyond Techno-Utopia: Critical Approaches to Digital Health Technologies

Beyond Techno-Utopia: Critical Approaches to Digital Health Technologies

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Book Details:

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Year:2015
Publisher:MDPI
Pages:170 pages
Language:english
Since:01/06/2017
Size:2.16 MB
License:CC-BY

Content:

The title for this special issue was devised as a direct challenge to the prevailing solutionist and instrumental approaches to the application of digital technologies to medicine and public health. In formulating the idea and title for the special issue, I wanted to inspire some provocative and challenging commentary and research on what I interpreted as a dominantly techno-utopian position on digital health. One important approach that I particularly wanted to encourage, and which I articulate in my own contribution to the special issue, is that which views digital health technologies as social, cultural and material artefacts which have political implications and embodied entanglements with humans and other nonhuman actors.

Three waves of digital technology adoption have been identified in healthcare. The first wave began in the 1950s, when nascent computerised technologies were used to automate standardised and repetitive tasks such as accounting and payroll-related data entry. Health insurance companies and other industry stakeholders also used computers to analyse data. The second wave of digital technology use in healthcare emerged in the 1970s, incorporating the development of health informatics and electronic health card systems. Both waves incorporated individual institutions establishing systems for more efficient data management and processing. The third wave is emerging in the current era. This wave sees moves towards the digitisation of as many elements of healthcare as possible and the interaction and exchange of data between different institutions and systems: an overarching framework that incorporates data not only from healthcare institutions and systems but actors and agencies outside this sector.

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