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Negotiating technology-mediated interaction in health care

Abstract

The health-care sector is increasingly faced with different forms of technology that are introduced to mediate interaction, thus fully or partially replacing face-to-face meetings. In this article we address health personnel’s experiences with three such technologies, namely: electronic messages, video conferences and net-based discussion forums. Drawing on Goffman’s perspectives on interaction and frame, we argue that when technologies are introduced to mediate interaction, new frames for understanding and making sense of situations are created. These new frames imply new ways of organising and making sense of experience, and require work by the participants in the interaction. In this article, based on interviews from two Norwegian research projects, we investigate health personnel’s work to make sense of technology-mediated interaction in health care. We discuss this work represented in four categories: how to perform in a competent manner, how to negotiate immediacy, how to enable social cues and how to establish and maintain commitment. Concluding, we argue that the introduction of mediating technologies redefines what is considered up-to-date, ‘good’ health-care work and challenges health personnel to change (some of) their work practices and moves, as a result, far beyond simple interventions aimed at making work more efficient.

Category

Academic article

Language

English

Author(s)

  • Erna Håland
  • Line Melby

Affiliation

  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • University of Oslo
  • SINTEF Digital / Health Research

Year

2015

Published in

Social Theory & Health

ISSN

1477-8211

Publisher

Palgrave Macmillan

Volume

13

Issue

1

Page(s)

78 - 98

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