Health self-monitoring in Brazil: laboratories, test results and the healthcare system
(Federal University of Bahia)
Paper short abstract:
This paper discusses the impact that the long-established practice in Brazil of patients being responsible for collecting and storing medical tests results has on general health self-monitoring, analysing also the ways in which it affects patients’ general dealing with biomedicine
Paper long abstract:
The current healthcare system in Brazil, both in its private and public forms, delegates to patients the responsibility for collecting and presenting during medical consultations medical test results, such as laboratory results, or image tests such as x-rays and MRIs. Patients are also responsible for final storage of such documents, as well as presenting them at future medical consultations when requested to do so. This system implies that patients have had, for a long time, direct access to these results and, in some cases, track their health through them, keeping a close eye in their results and comparing values. Some laboratories nowadays offer not only the possibility of accessing test results online, but also creating graphs to compare values throughout time. Based on field research in the north-eastern city of Salvador, Bahia, this paper discusses the impact that this setting has on general health self-monitoring practices (including the use of domestic devices when available), as well as the ways in which such long-established practices of personal involvement with medical test results have on patients' dealings with biomedicine.
Everyday analytics: The politics and practices of self-monitoring