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Critical digital health: promises and limitations


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Opening plenary given at the 13th Social Research Conference on HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Related Diseases

Opening plenary given at the 13th Social Research Conference on HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Related Diseases

Published in: Health & Medicine

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  • 1. THE DIGITAL HEALTH PHENOMENON: PROMISES AND LIMITATIONS Deborah Lupton Faculty of Arts & Design University of Canberra
  • 2. A new research agenda Critical digital health studies • Challenging techno-utopia and solutionism • Identifying social, cultural, political and ethical implications of digital health • Recognising both their promises and their limitations
  • 3. Critical digital health studies: evolution of a research program critical digital health studies health sociology computers, selfhood & the body social aspects of HIV/AIDS computer viruses HIV/AIDS metaphors
  • 4. Digital health includes telemedicine, telecare, diagnosis tools public health surveillance personalised medicine/patient engagement health and medical platforms + websites health promotion strategies self-tracking (the quantified self)
  • 5. iHealth digital blood pressure monitor
  • 6. Health vital monitoring patch for biometric data
  • 7. Sensor-embedded trackers to ‘quantify the self”
  • 8. Google Glass
  • 9. Sexuality apps
  • 10. Reproductive health apps
  • 11. STD apps
  • 12. Infectious disease monitoring + control
  • 13. Google trends – AIDS searches
  • 14. surveillance studies social science of medicine/public health science and technology studies media, cultural and communication studies critical digital health the arts and design
  • 15. Research questions • What websites, platforms and apps are valued for health-related information or patient support? • What kinds of content are created and shared by lay people via social media platforms? • What do corporate social platforms do with this content? • How are medical and public health professionals using digital media? • How are concepts of the self, health, illness and the body configured and understood via digital tech? • What are the positive and negative effects of digital health tech? • How might socioeconomic disadvantage and social discrimination be alleviated or exacerbated by digital health tech?
  • 16. My recent, current + planned critical digital health projects • mapping the theoretical domain of critical digital health • • • • studies the commodification of patient experiences on digital platforms sexuality and reproductive health apps medical diagnosis apps (with Annemarie Jutel) digital surveillance of children + the unborn
  • 17. Recent, current + planned critical digital health projects • use of digital tech by professionals in infectious disease • • • • • surveillance control (with Mike Michael) public understandings of big data (with Mike Michael) the quantified self phenomenon big data in medicine and healthcare Google Glass – implications for medicine and public health provocative responses to health self-monitoring by artists and designers
  • 18. Theoretical perspectives • The cyborg body/post-human body • From the haptic to the optic • Forms of surveillance via digital tech • Code acts • Algorithmic identities
  • 19. Theoretical perspectives • Domesticating technologies • Prosumption • Technology as performative
  • 20. More information • ‘Towards a critical sociology of digital health technologies’ (blog post) • ‘Social aspects of digital media and health care’ ( collection) • ‘Critical Digital Health Studies’ (Pinterest collection)