Technology and medical practice


Address for correspondence: Christian Heath, Work, Interaction and Technology Group, King's College London, Franklin Wilkins Building, London SE1 8WA e-mail:


Abstract One of the most significant developments in healthcare over the past 25 years has been the widespread deployment of information and communication technologies. These technologies have had a wide-ranging impact on the organisation of healthcare, on professional practice and on patients’ experience of illness and its management. In this paper we discuss the ways in which Sociology of Health and illness has provided a forum for the analysis of these new technologies in healthcare. We review a range of relevant research published in the Journal; papers that address such issues as dehumanisation and emotional labour, professional practice and identity, and the social and institutional shaping of technology. Despite these important initiatives, we suggest that information and communication technologies in healthcare remain relatively under-explored within the Journal and, more generally, by the sociology of health and illness and point to developments in cognate areas which may have some bearing upon the analysis of technology in action.