Aarhus University Seal

Techno-Anthropological Sensibilities in Health Informatics: Opportunities and challenges

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review

What kind of knowledges, skills and competences may be required by Techno-Anthropology engaging with health informatics? If we understand Techno-Anthropology to mean conducting anthropological analyses of the interwoven and mutually shaping relationship between organizing, technologies and actors in healthcare, such engagements and interventions can take many forms: Short-term consultancy work dedicated to achieving specific goals, long-term studies of broad changes in healthcare; management support within hospitals and public healthcare administration; or technology development with vendors of healthcare IT. The opportunities would seem to be manifold. Since the healthcare sector is a heterogeneous mix of interests, political agendas, professions et cetera, there is great merit in having people knowledgeable about this heterogeneity; able to facilitate meetings and processes between the various professions and organizations; and skilled in generating analyses and proposing new solutions. Also, people with insight into how action, technologies and organizing are interwoven and redistribute competences, responsibilities and risks are invaluable: Look at from afar, technologies seem to cause and determine social development, whereas detailed studies reveal that determinants and causes are both technical and social. The challenges include the one of making one's knowledge and skills legitimate and relevant to health informatics. Having a degree from arts or social sciences is not necessarily impressive for people with similar degrees in medicine, computer science, and business administration. Another challenge is to design an engagement with health informatics that will generate insights which often requires time, while also providing quick results for project sponsors or collaborators. The chapter points at three issues that seem to be central foundations for appropriate and quality-driven research and interventions of the ‘quick and proper’ kind: Modes of engagement; characteristics of the healthcare sector; and medical informatics and work.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTechno-Anthropology in Health Informatics
EditorsBotin Lars, Pernille Bertelsen, Christian Nøhr
Number of pages12
PublisherIOS Press
Publication year2015
ISBN (print)978-1-61499-559-3
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-61499-560-9
Publication statusPublished - 2015
SeriesStudies in Health Technology and Informatics

See relations at Aarhus University Citationformats

ID: 90668901