Accepted Paper:

Big data and the anticipated reshaping of the patient-physician relationship  


Margo Bernelin (Laboratoire Droit et changement social, University of Nantes)

Paper short abstract:

The development of massive data collection from patient through the internet of things allows for a profound reshaping of the patient-physician relationship. Drawing from different case studies our research will critically analyse the foreseen transformations.

Paper long abstract:

The rapid development of health applications on smartphones or the investment of the GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon) in the health industry are few examples that demonstrate how informatics and communication technologies are permeating the health sector. Those technologies allow for massive health data collection from various sources as well as their fast treatment by sophisticated algorithms. The use of connected objects enables to real-time collect, from an individual, biological parameters but also different environmental data. Therefore health data are no longer locked into medical practices or hospital but are collected directly in patient's everyday life. Those particular data production mechanisms are reshaping the relationship between medical practitioners and their patients previously based on a hierarchy in favour of physicians. Indeed, the anticipated outcomes of such mechanisms and its uses is to empower individuals to gain control over their health data and to be better informed about their health without being dependent of their physicians.

However, this much anticipated new order can be challenged: is this a new way of controlling and categorising individuals in order to morally asses their health habit from their data? This research will explore the anticipations and possible challenges to this situation by analysing specific existing health connected objects and applications developed in the health sector and their implication for patients.

This research is part of an interdisciplinary research program on Big data and personalised medicine in France (DataSanté Research Program) and the case studies analysed will be selected from its cluster.

Panel G03
Technologies that count: big data and social order