The implications of new data and information technologies for professional roles in health care

Runtime: November 2019-November 2023
Client: ESHPM and Medical Delta

Project description

My PhD constitutes the STS or branch of the Medical Delta program From Prototype to Payment. As the social science pillar of Medical Delta, we aim to bring societal and organizational perspectives to a consortium strongly geared towards finding technological solutions to health care issues. Emerging data and information technologies promise to drastically enhance human decision-making and the analytical capabilities of health care professionals. Although there is a shared understanding that these innovations will have drastic implications for the future of many professions in health care, we need to get a better grip on what transformations have already been set in motion, and how they are likely to impact medical practice(s).

In this spirit, my PhD project investigates the professional implications of new technologies in the health care domain, asking questions such as: How do new medical technologies change the practical organization of care delivery and vice versa? How do these technologies change roles and practices in health care, and promote the advent of new ones? To answer these questions, I will conduct ethnographic case studies. On the one hand, I will do ethnography among the developers of the technologies I will be examining. Through participant observation and semi-structured interviews, I will investigate the expectations that are embedded in the design of new technologies, particularly in terms of roles, workflow, and ideals of health care systems and care provision. On the other hand, I will conduct hospital ethnography in sites where new data and information technologies are being or have been implemented. My observations and ethnographic interviews in these settings will focus on the ways health care professional navigate the consequences of the introduction of new technologies in their practice – for instance, in terms of their roles and professional identity, practices of coordination and task division.


Chiara Carboni (PhD candidate), Dr Rik Wehrens (co-promoter), Prof. Antoinette de Bont & Prof. Romke van der Veen (promoters), Medical Delta (