Implementing information and communication technologies (ICT) is often mentioned as a strategy that can foster public involvement and responsibility in health. The purpose of this paper is to provide a better understanding of the possibilities and issues afforded by the social uses of ICT for personal empowerment in health.
The paper discusses evidence from four case studies that characterize current computerization and networking processes in health. The studies shared a global framework comprising four interpretative paradigms of personal empowerment: the professional, technocratic, consumerist and democratic paradigms.
The results show the coexistence of four empowerment logics in ICT use. Two trends proved dominant: a strengthening of the control and standardization processes tied to the typical power relationships in health, and a reinforcement of personal autonomy and self‐assertion processes, either through commercial relationships or through the social relationships that are also present.
The paper supports the argument that in order to understand the opportunities for personal empowerment offered by ICT the logic underlying user practices in their respective contexts must be examined.
The paper uses data from four case studies to illustrate the contradictory logics shaping the personal empowerment process. Under these logics, an ICT user may play roles as patient, client, consumer, or citizen.
Lemire, M. (2010), "What can be expected of information and communication technologies in terms of patient empowerment in health?", Journal of Health Organization and Management, Vol. 24 No. 2, pp. 167-181. https://doi.org/10.1108/14777261011047336Download as .RIS
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