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Health Matters: A Social Science and Ethnographic Study of Patient and Professional Involvement in the Governance of Converging Technologies in Medicine (HealthGovMatters)
Start date: Jun 1, 2009, End date: Jul 31, 2012 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"HealthGovMatters explores patients' and professionals' formal and informal involvement in governing the production and mediation of health and medical knowledge. We use rich social science and ethnographic methods, including interviews and participant observation, to address forms of engagement with predictive, diagnostic and therapeutic technologies. Our interest is in exploring interactions between constellations of actors (patients, care-givers, health professionals, citizens, and patient and professional organisations) who become involved in mediating and articulating the definitions and lived meanings of health, illness and disease in the context of encounters with new health technologies. We will focus on new imaging (predictive and diagnostic) technologies, computer implants and new pharmaceuticals/devices which are being developed and implemented in the fields of genetics and neurology - two key sites in which new technologies enabled by the synergism of developments in such core fields as nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive sciences are being integrated. Often referred to as ""converging technologies"", their integration in the area of medicine is viewed as holding the potential to vastly improve ICT capacity for medical data management and information generation and to provide the foundation for the translation of research knowledge into clinical trials and clinical practice. In the light of new developments, we are asking: How do patients and professionals at the experiential and institutional levels represent new diagnostic, predictive or therapeutic possibilities and make decisions regarding their development and use? Additionally, in what ways might the axes of gender and generation (and more specifically women and children) make a difference in how novel health technologies are conceptualised, developed, implemented or refused?"
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