Thesis defense: The Internet, Health and Network Society
February 4, 2009
On 23rd January 2009 I defended my PhD thesis “Internet, health and society. Analysis of the uses of internet related to health in Catalonia” supervised by the IN3’s Director and UOC Research Professor Manuel Castells. I’m translating my slide presentation, it takes time because It has many figures, just take a look at the Spanish version, and my talk to English but I would like to share the Spanish version of my presentation and the main structure in English.
- Identify and characterize the presence of the actors of the Catalonian healthcare system in the Internet
- Identify, characterize and explain the determinants of the use and social practices that the principal actors of the healthcare system carry out through ICT, specifically that of the Internet
- What type of quality information and applications related with Health are offered on the Internet?
- How can the presence of the healthcare system’s actors on the Internet be characterized?
- Which are the main barriers and incentives of patient support groups for Internet use?
- What are the ICT uses of the citizens with regard to health and how can they be characterized?
- What are the consequences of citizen ICT use, specifically that of the Internet, regarding the management of their health and the relationship with their healthcare professionals?
- What are the determinants (technological and non-technological) of the demand of healthcare services by citizens via the Internet?
- What are the uses of ICT, especially the Internet, by healthcare professionals and how can they be characterized?
- What are the determinants (technological and non-technological) of the uses of the Internet by health care professionals (Physicians, Nurses and Pharmacist)?
- The interaction between social structure, the increase of information flow and ICT causes a transformation in social practices and in the behaviour of the actors of the healthcare system
- The Internet is basically an information space on Health and not an interaction space between the actors of the healthcare system; therefore health webs are characterized by the offer of information resources, by the lack of applications related with communication or services and by levels of quality associated with the actor who provides the resource
- The interrelation between access, use and assessment of ICT, healthcare services demand and the capacity of the individuals to take decisions over their own health or those closest to them determines the use of the Internet to access to the health system, a new patient profile called the e-patient
- The interrelation between the intensive use of ICT, specially the Internet, the positive assessment by healthcare professionals of these technologies in relation with their work activities and their patients, the intensive use of the information and professional work oriented towards research determines a new professional profile called the Networked healthcare professional.
This thesis has verified that:
- The Internet constitutes an information space on health and not an interaction space between the various actors in the healthcare system; consequently, health webs are characterized by the offer of resources related with information, the lack of applications related with communication and services, and certain levels of quality associated with the actor that offers the resource.
- The interaction between access, use and evaluation of ICT; the demand of healthcare services and the capacity of the individuals to take decisions over their own health and those closest to them, determines the use of the Internet to have access to the healthcare system, i.e. determining a new profile of patient that we have called the e-patient.
- The interrelation of the intensive use of ICT, especially that of the Internet; the positive assessment of these technologies in relation with their work and their patients; the intensive use of information, and a professional activity oriented towards research determines a new professional profile which we call the networked healthcare professional (networked physician, networked nurse, networked pharmacist)
Future lines of research
- Analysis of the determinants of the processes of innovation of the healthcare systems in relation to ICT
- Analysis of the determinants of the state of health in the context of the Network Society
- Analysis of public policies in the context of the Network Society
- Analysis of the technological dynamics and interactions, economic and social of biomedical research in the context of the Network Society
You can check all the references here or on my personal reference manager. Ismael Peña and Oriol Miralbell have blogging and comment the event. Finally, this thesis is just the beginig of a research career. If you have found any interesting point or something to disscuss or compare, let’s share. As Liverpool supporters You’ll Never Walk Alone.