Workshop: Innovative health technologies: health systems in transition

November 20, 2009

I’m deligthed to announce the “Innovative health technologies: health systems in transition Workshop”

Supported by: Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3)

Organized by: Francisco Lupiáñez-Villanueva (Internet Interdisciplinary Institute –UOC) and Michael Hardey (Hull/York Medical School – Science and Technology Studies Unit, Department of Sociology, University of York)

Data: 26th and 27th November

Place: UOC IN3 building. Av. Canal Olímpic, s/n. Edifici B3, 08860 Castelldefels (Barcelona)


Digital technologies and the Internet are increasingly changing how people understand their health, how health care is organised and delivered to patients and opening up new scientific approaches and innovations. For example, health care records are being digitised and made available though various devices to users in most nations with a centralised health care system. Developments in genetics, imaging technologies, cloning and stem cell research are changing how health is understood and the treatments available to individuals. Such changes in the organisation of health and medical knowledge are increasingly engaging with the public through information that is made available on the Internet.

The Internet is now a vast repository of information about health and well-being.  Supported by Web 2.0 resources, the Internet has increasingly included information about health, illness and lifestyles provided by individuals.  As more of the public become connected through computers and mobile devices new opportunities are created for the publication of health information and advice.  However, the diversity of health information raises questions about quality and the impact incorrect or poor information may have on individuals.  There is already evidence that the doctor-patient relationship is changing in the face of developments in Information and Communications Technologies.  In addition, while people are the advice people may choose to follow may not necessarily result in health behaviours.  For example, men defined as obese may share information available on the Internet to remain ‘big and fat’ despite medical advice to the contrary.

The desire to provide a seamless inter-agency service built around the needs of individual people (and more broadly clients and patients of national health and welfare services) is a common aspiration in most countries with a centralised welfare system.  Developments in Telecare have seen the growth of ‘smart homes’ that enable people to live safely at home through various monitoring and intervention systems.  Such monitoring devices are also being used by people in pursuit of healthy bodies through exercise.  The iPod or iPhone can, for example, be used to monitor running and other physical activity. These technologies raise questions to do with the privacy and ownership of information.  In other words information technology has become both directly and indirectly part of everyday life for many people and those who play a part in their lives.

In this broad context, the aim of this workshop is seeking to understand how, for whom and to what extend changes in the material conditions of health information and communication is transforming the generation of medical knowledge, the conception of health and the demand and provision of healthcare delivery.

To reach this aim, the workshop is organized in discussion sessions where social researchers will present their recent research results, methodologies and experiences with enough time for rich interaction among the participants.


26th Thursday

10:00 – 10:15 Opening session
10:15 – 12:00 Presentations

  • Andrew Webster – Innovation in health: a social science perspective
  • Michael Morrison – ‘Measuring Innovation – a brief introduction to the REMEDiE project’
  • Laura Machin – Cord blood banking: initial observations

12:00 – 12:15 Coffer-break
12:15 – 13:45 Presentations

  • Mariann Hardey – Private medical care and the Web
  • Eulàlia Hernádez – Providing resources for caregivers trough the Internet.

13:45 – 15:00 Lunch
15:00 – 16:45 Presentation

  • Flis Henwood – ‘Health-e discourse? Engaging the community in e-health developments for obesity self-management’
  • Sue Ziebland – Knowledge is Power? The role of health information

16:45 – 17:00 Coffer-break
17:00 – 17:30 Conclusions of the day

27th Friday

10:00 – 10:15 Opening session
10:15 – 12:00 Presentations

  • Imma Grau – Studying Virtual Communities for patients with chronic illnesses, in Forumclinic
  • Daniel López – Reframing telecare: an ethical discussion concerning ageing-in-place, independence and care.
  • Darren Reed – Performativity of Data

12:00 – 12:15 Coffer-break
12:15 – 13:45 Presentation

  • Michael Hardey – Consuming professions: user-review websites and health services
  • Francisco Lupiáñez-Villanueva and Michael Hardey – Health professionals, the Internet and Internet informed patients

13:30 – 15:00 Lunch
15:00 – 16:00 Conclusions of the workshop

Thanks indeed to the participants, to IN3 for the support and to Laura Vidal for her wonderful organization work. See also information available at IN3.