Representing the ‘Patient’ in E-health - Is it really as simple as PRM?

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  2. Ronald Wilson
Author(s)Wilson RG
Editor(s)Bryant, J.
Publication type Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)
Conference NameHealthcare Computing (HC)
Conference LocationHarrogate, UK
Year of Conference2008
Date21-23 April 2008
Volume
Pages
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A central theme of e-health developments across the world has been the need to focus the efforts of service around the needs of the consumer or customer, rather than those of the producer. The private sector notion of ‘customer focus’ is a proposition in the future delivery of e-health enabled services. This is the case not just with explicit ‘customer’ focused techniques and technologies such as CRM, but more broadly in terms of the process-based models which underpin the deployment of most e-health technologies (e.g. lean production models). In these process models, the idea of improved customer service acts as an overarching goal, helping those implementing complex technological and organisational change to co-ordinate and judge between various courses of action and to evaluate the worth or value of particular actions E-health promises more patient-focused health services personalised at the point of care. But what does it mean to have customer-focused health services? Just who is the ‘customer’ of a transformed e-health service and how is he or she represented? As du Gay and Salmon (1992) have noted, the 'discourse of enterprise' and the ‘cult of the customer’, have placed the needs of the sovereign customer at the rhetorical centre of organising in both the public and private spheres. The transformative effects themselves and the processes by which that transformation is occurring remain under-explored. The nature and effects of this transformation remain under-theorised and under-researched.