THE DIGITAL HEALTH PHENOMENON:
PROMISES AND LIMITATIONS
Deborah Lupton
Faculty of Arts & Design
University of Canberra
A new research agenda

Critical digital health studies
• Challenging techno-utopia and solutionism
• Identifying social, c...
Critical digital health studies: evolution of a research
program
critical
digital
health
studies

health
sociology

comput...
Digital health includes
telemedicine, telecare, diagnosis tools
public health surveillance

personalised medicine/patient ...
iHealth digital blood pressure monitor
Health vital monitoring patch for biometric data
Sensor-embedded trackers to ‘quantify the self”
Google Glass
Sexuality apps
Reproductive health apps
STD apps
Infectious disease monitoring + control
Google trends – AIDS searches
surveillance
studies
social science
of
medicine/public
health

science and
technology
studies

media, cultural
and
communi...
Research questions
• What websites, platforms and apps are valued for health-related information or

patient support?
• Wh...
My recent, current + planned critical digital health
projects
• mapping the theoretical domain of critical digital health
...
Recent, current + planned critical digital health
projects
• use of digital tech by professionals in infectious disease
•
...
Theoretical perspectives
• The cyborg body/post-human body
• From the haptic to the optic
• Forms of surveillance via digi...
Theoretical perspectives
• Domesticating technologies
• Prosumption
• Technology as performative
More information
• ‘Towards a critical sociology of digital health technologies’

(blog post)
• ‘Social aspects of digital...
Critical digital health: promises and limitations
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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

Published in: Health & Medicine

Critical digital health: promises and limitations

  1. 1. THE DIGITAL HEALTH PHENOMENON: PROMISES AND LIMITATIONS Deborah Lupton Faculty of Arts & Design University of Canberra
  2. 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. 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. 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. 5. iHealth digital blood pressure monitor
  6. 6. Health vital monitoring patch for biometric data
  7. 7. Sensor-embedded trackers to ‘quantify the self”
  8. 8. Google Glass
  9. 9. Sexuality apps
  10. 10. Reproductive health apps
  11. 11. STD apps
  12. 12. Infectious disease monitoring + control
  13. 13. Google trends – AIDS searches
  14. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 19. Theoretical perspectives • Domesticating technologies • Prosumption • Technology as performative
  20. 20. More information • ‘Towards a critical sociology of digital health technologies’ (blog post) • ‘Social aspects of digital media and health care’ (Scoop.it collection) • ‘Critical Digital Health Studies’ (Pinterest collection)

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