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Technospatialities and telehealthcare: Unfolding new spaces of visibility

Journal article
Authors Jesper Petersson
Published in Information, Communication & Society
Volume 19
Issue 6
Pages 824-842
ISSN 1369-118X
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Sociology and Work Science
Pages 824-842
Language en
Keywords space, visibility, e-health, telemonitoring, smart home, patient empowerment, independent living
Subject categories Informatics, Information processing, Information technology, Human Computer Interaction, Other Civil Engineering, Telecommunications, Medical Engineering, Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy, Medical Ethics, Theory of science regarding care and nursing, Sociology, Human Geography, Theory of science


The umbrella term ‘telehealthcare’ denotes an array of information and communication technology-based solutions for digitally connecting citizens with healthcare services. Guided by the conviction that bodies can be translated into digital data which may serve as the basis for clinical decisions made elsewhere, these designs are widely assumed to enable a mode of healthcare delivery which is independent of space and time. Addressing the increasing use of telehealthcare for personalized health monitoring targeting the growing populations of elderly and chronic-care patients, this paper suggests that such designs invariably unfold new spaces of visibility. Based on an analysis of articles published in a leading telehealthcare journal, I argue that these new visibilities do not provide a window onto something that is already there. Instead, such visibilities are shaped by the way techno-medical practices and knowledge production processes are intertwined with a specific politico-economic agenda. The paper explores differences with respect to the positioning of older people and chronic-care patients in relation to two versions of health monitoring. While each version represents an attempt to promote individual freedom, improve health outcomes and ensure a functioning healthcare system, contrasting rationales are involved and different types of spaces are being unfolded.

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