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In this panel we approach formal and informal channels of communication within medical environments, with special focus on the role of mediators (nurses, community health workers) and the creative appropriation of mobile technologies in daily informal care (e.g. use of WhatsApp for medical purposes)
Based on ethnographic findings, we propose that communication based on empathy will still be the fundamental part of the ecosystem of care in the future. We are particularly interested in discussing how people and health practitioners are using ordinary communication apps and functionalities (such as Facebook, WhatsApp, WeChat, SMS) to improve health in formal and informal ways. We also confront Deloitte last report on the future of Medtech and its prediction that "medtech companies should consider partnering with consumer-focused technology and specialized digital health companies to stay relevant in the future of health" because, for them, data will be the key factor in medical care. Much of those arguments are based in a customer-centric approach. This panel proposes to challenge this very notion of a (global or commodified) customer willing to engage with bespoken technology for health purposes. We aim to highlight how cultural context can result in other kinds of "consumers" that are not ready to comply with medtech industry but are already reinventing care practices on creative ways. We would like to invite contributions that address (but need not be limited to): the role of mediators within medical environments; creative uses of mobile technologies in formal and informal care; Googling for health and its consequences; development of social media support groups; and coordination of care at a distance through mobile devices.