Between ‘entertainment medicine’ and professionalization of healthcare : an interview study of Belgian doctors

K. Gabriels, T. Moerenhout

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

Background: Nowadays, digital self-tracking devices offer a plethora of possibilities to both healthy and chronically ill users who want to closely examine their body. This study suggests that self-tracking in a private setting will lead to shifting understandings in professional care. In order to provide more insight into these shifts, this paper seeks to lay bare the promises and challenges of self-tracking while staying close to the everyday professional experience of the physician.
Objective: Our objective is twofold. First, to offer an analysis of how medical doctors evaluate self-tracking methods in their practice. Second, to explore the anticipated shifts that digital self-care will bring about in relation to our findings and those of other studies.
Methods: Twelve in-depth semi-structured interviews with general practitioners (GPs) and cardiologists have been conducted in Flanders, Belgium, between November 2015 and November 2016. Thematic analysis was applied to examine the transcripts in an iterative process.
Results: Four major themes arise in our body of data: (1) the patient as health manager; (2) health obsession and medicalization; (3) information management; and (4) shifting roles of the doctors and impact on healthcare organization. Our research findings show a nuanced understanding of the potentials and pitfalls of different forms of self-tracking. The necessity of contextualization of self-tracking data, and a professionalization of self-care through digital devices come to the fore as important overarching concepts.
Conclusions: This interview study with Belgian doctors examines the potentials and challenges of self-monitoring, while focusing on the everyday professional experience of the physician. The dialogue between our dataset and the existing literature affords a fine-grained image of digital self-care and its current meaning in a medical-professional landscape.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event31st European Conference on Philosophy of Medicine and Healthcare (ESPMH 2017), 16-19 August 2017, Belgrade, Serbia: Emerging technologies in healthcare - University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia
Duration: 16 Aug 201719 Aug 2017
Conference number: 31

Conference

Conference31st European Conference on Philosophy of Medicine and Healthcare (ESPMH 2017), 16-19 August 2017, Belgrade, Serbia
Country/TerritorySerbia
CityBelgrade
Period16/08/1719/08/17

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