Health Illness and Society

Technologies modify relationships and roles in the health field, as they do in society more generally (think about trains, telegraph, and telephones, for example). Just as texting has become a form of intimacy in everyday life, and the smartphone an extension and an enhancement of ourselves, the importance, meaning and uses of ancient or traditional elements such as ancestry, gaze, touch, and proximity have been transformed with emergent technologies in the realm of medicine. Choose a recent development in medical testing, a treatment modality, or a medical technology to research using the ESC library,, PubMed, TED, New York Times, or other quality online resources.

Describe some of the advantages and disadvantages of this intervention, testing, or therapy, and explore how it may change/impact/transform the experience of the patient, the interaction between patient and health provider, or the quality and nature of caregiving and therapeutic relationships within families, communities and hospitals. Do these experiences or the outcomes of treatment seem vary by age, gender, or ethnicity? Do these new technologies seem to challenge the boundaries or definition of health, selfhood, or privacy? Are other approaches and methods being supplemented, or replaced? Some topics for consideration are: 3D ultrasound, over-the-counter tests to determine the sex of a fetus before birth, genetic testing to screen for late-onset diseases in children and youth, nanobots, robotic limbs, implantable electronics, smart cars, surgical robots, electronic medical records, and telemedicine.