Professor Nelly Oudshoorn, Department of Science, Technology and Policy Studies, is the new recipient of the Foundation for the Sociology of Health & Illness Book of the Year Prize 2012. She received the award for her book Telecare Technologies and the Transformation of Healthcare (Palgrave 2011).
The award is given each year by the Medical Sociology group of the British Sociological Association for the book that makes “the most significant contribution to the sub-discipline of medical sociology/sociology of health and illness”.
The prize was awarded at the BSA Medical Sociology Group Annual Conference, held at the University of Leicester, 5-7 September 2012. The book is the first monograph that presents a detailed, empirical account of how healthcare practices are transformed by telecare technologies currently introduced in the US, Canada and Europe. What happens when healthcare moves from physical to virtual encounters between healthcare professionals and patients? What are the consequences for patients when they are expected to do things that used to be done by healthcare professionals? What actually happens when homes become electronically wired to healthcare organizations? These are urgent questions that are, however, largely absent in dominant discourses on telecare. Drawing on insights from Science and Technology Studies and Human Geography, this book opens up novel accounts of the adoption and use of new technologies in healthcare. Nelly Oudshoorn shows how telecare technologies participate in redefining the responsibilities and identities of patients and healthcare professionals, introducing a new category of healthcare workers, and changing the kinds of care and spaces where healthcare is situated. This book critically intervenes into discourses that celebrate the independence of place and time by showing how places and physical contacts still matter in care at a distance. Equally important, this book challenges the view that telecare technologies reduce human labor by rendering visible the work of telecare professionals and patients that is often silenced in dominant discourses on these novel technologies.