CRITICAL STUDIES OF DIGITAL HEALTH:
Deborah Lupton, Department of Sociology
and Social Policy, University of Sydney
• one-way website use, little user content
creation, landline internet connections,
desktop and laptop computers
• user-created content or commentary, social
networking sites, ubiquitous computing,
mobile devices, media convergence
• interconnected 'smart objects' that can
communicate with each other, producing a
single interlinked database
From Web 1.0 to Web 3.0
What is digital health?
• using Web 2.0 platforms -- Facebook, YouTube, Twitter,
PatientsLikeMe, online news, blogs and wikis
• now moving towards Web 3.0 – the body as ‘node in the
Internet of Things’
• mobile wireless and wearable computer technologies
• embedded sensors in technologies
• digital data collection on individuals and populations (‘big
• digitised medical records
What is digital health?
Health 2.0 Medicine 2.0
Digital health includes
public health surveillance
personalised medicine/patient engagement
health and medical platforms + websites
health promotion strategies
self-tracking (the quantified self)
iHealth digital blood pressure monitor
Health vital monitoring patch (heart rate, respiration
rate, fall detection, stress, skin temperature, activity,
calories burnt, body posture)
Sleep Shirt containing sensors to measure
movement for sleep apnoea detection
Bodymetric trackers to ‘quantify the self”
Google Glass used in medicine and public
the arts and
• How do the news media cover digital health topics?
• 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?
• In the face of techno-utopia, what are the lived
experiences of people using digital health technologies?
• Who to trust in the digital media world?
• How are concepts of ‘health’ and ‘the body’ shaped
through digital technology use?
• How are healthcare providers using digital technologies?
• How are professionals in health promotion and public
health using digital technologies?
• What are the political dimensions and power relations
inherent in the use of these technologies?
• How will privacy be defined and experienced in the
context of these media?
• What are the implications for how people conduct their
everyday lives and social relationships?
• The cyborg body/post-human body
• From the haptic to the optic
• Forms of surveillance: panoptic, synoptic, participatory,
• Data doubles
• Domesticating technologies
• Technology as performative
• The sociocultural dimensions of hardware and software
• ‘Towards a critical sociology of digital health technologies’
• ‘Social aspects of digital media and health care’ (Scoop.it