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)
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
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