The use of technology in cancer care: applying Foucault's ideas to explore the changing dynamics of power in health care

Liz Forbat, Roma Maguire, Lisa McCann, Nicola Illingworth, Nora Kearney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

AIM: This study is a report to identify the utility of a hand-held side-effect monitoring system for people receiving chemotherapy in the home care setting.

BACKGROUND: Increasingly, health care is being provided in people's own homes and communities rather than in hospitals. This has driven the development of technologies which support patients in the home environment. The meaning of such technologies can be explored from a Foucauldian perspective to shed light on how they enable new forms of medical surveillance.

METHOD: An intervention study was performed in 2006 using new technologies for people receiving chemotherapy. Questionnaires were completed by 56 people affected by cancer who used the new technology; 12 of these people were then interviewed. Secondary analysis of the interview data is presented in this paper, drawing on Foucault's writing about surveillance and power in medical settings.

FINDINGS: The interview transcripts contain numerous examples of people affected by cancer reflecting on issues such as power and surveillance in cancer care. While these terms are ordinarily considered to reflect negative elements of care, they were used by participants in an empowering manner.

CONCLUSION: Theoretical insights can help nurses to think critically about the advances of technology. In particular, there are implications for how nurses consider the relationship of technology to patients and for power dynamics in healthcare relationships. We suggest that there is a need to problematize and celebrate the growth of technologically-driven health surveillance.

LanguageEnglish
Pages306-315
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Volume65
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Technology
Delivery of Health Care
Neoplasms
Nurses
Interviews
Drug Therapy
Home Care Services
Hand
Health
Growth

Keywords

  • delivery of health care
  • home care services
  • biomedical technology

Cite this

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abstract = "AIM: This study is a report to identify the utility of a hand-held side-effect monitoring system for people receiving chemotherapy in the home care setting.BACKGROUND: Increasingly, health care is being provided in people's own homes and communities rather than in hospitals. This has driven the development of technologies which support patients in the home environment. The meaning of such technologies can be explored from a Foucauldian perspective to shed light on how they enable new forms of medical surveillance.METHOD: An intervention study was performed in 2006 using new technologies for people receiving chemotherapy. Questionnaires were completed by 56 people affected by cancer who used the new technology; 12 of these people were then interviewed. Secondary analysis of the interview data is presented in this paper, drawing on Foucault's writing about surveillance and power in medical settings.FINDINGS: The interview transcripts contain numerous examples of people affected by cancer reflecting on issues such as power and surveillance in cancer care. While these terms are ordinarily considered to reflect negative elements of care, they were used by participants in an empowering manner.CONCLUSION: Theoretical insights can help nurses to think critically about the advances of technology. In particular, there are implications for how nurses consider the relationship of technology to patients and for power dynamics in healthcare relationships. We suggest that there is a need to problematize and celebrate the growth of technologically-driven health surveillance.",
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The use of technology in cancer care : applying Foucault's ideas to explore the changing dynamics of power in health care. / Forbat, Liz; Maguire, Roma; McCann, Lisa; Illingworth, Nicola; Kearney, Nora.

In: Journal of Advanced Nursing, Vol. 65, No. 2, 15.02.2009, p. 306-315.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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