Recently, the New York Times’s blog dealing with health and medicine, Well, featured an interesting piece on Desktop medicine. The author Pauline W. Chen, M.D., maintains that medical profession has been profoundly changed by the advent of desktop computers. In the past, doctoring was all about “sitting at patients’ bedside”. Today, it’s basically about staring at a screen. The article is quick to point out that this reflection is not exempt from a certain nostalgic idealization of the past.
I would add that saying that “we have gone from bedside medicine to desktop medicine” as a bit of an ideological dimension to it, too – as far as it relies on a technodeterministic meta-narrative (“computer-mediated communication is superseding face-to-face social interaction”, “machine automation replace human labour”, “robots will rule the world”, and so on). (more…)