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Digital health services are meant to empower users to manage their own health, and lead to better informed, more engaged patients. To this end, user centred design has incredible potential to support people towards healthier lives, and alleviate pressure on health systems. However, to what extent has the rhetoric of empowerment in the context of technology been diluted to the point that when we speak of "empowering users", what we really mean is "let's get the service user to do our job for us" .
While it is easy to become disillusioned with erosion of the empowerment agenda's activist roots, user centred design, by its very nature, allows for a fundamental change in power dynamics between service users and service providers. This presentation will apply a social psychological lens to academic theory, industry best practice, and real-world stories outlining the intersection between empowerment and digital design.