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Remote doctors and absent patients: acting at a distance in telemedicine?

Mort, Maggie M. and May, Carl R. and Williams, Tracy (2003) Remote doctors and absent patients: acting at a distance in telemedicine? Science Technology and Human Values, 28 (2). pp. 274-295. ISSN 1552-8251

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Abstract

According to policy makers, telemedicine offers "huge opportunities to improve the quality and accessibility of health services." It is defined as diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring, with doctors and patients separated by space (and usually time) but mediated through information and communication technologies. This mediation is explored through an ethnography of a U.K. teledermatology clinic. Diagnostic image transfer enables medicine at a distance, as patients are removed from knowledge generation by concentrating their identities into images. Yet that form of identity allows images and the expert gaze to be brought into potentially lifesaving proximity. Following Latour’s thread, images must be captured and then mobilized to the knowledge base, where they must be stabilized into standard diagnoses, then combined with different images, waiting lists, skin lesions, dermatologists, paper records, and beds, so that ultimately, outcomes are produced. This huge task requires new knowledges and a widening of agency that, if unacknowledged, may see telemedicine projects continue to founder.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Science Technology and Human Values
Additional Information: RAE_import_type : Journal article RAE_uoa_type : Social Work and Social Policy & Administration
Uncontrolled Keywords: telemedicine • inscription • affordances • patienthood
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Departments: Faculty of Health and Medicine > Health Research
Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > Sociology
ID Code: 3347
Deposited By: ep_importer
Deposited On: 18 Mar 2008 16:51
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2013 08:21
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/3347

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