Care at a Distance

On the Closeness of Technology

Jeannette Pols

Jeannette Pols

Distributed for Amsterdam University Press

204 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2012
Paper $49.95 ISBN: 9789089643971 Published August 2012 For sale only in the United States, its dependencies, the Philippines, and Canada
Often the switch to telecare—technology used to help caretakers provide treatment to their patients off-site—is portrayed as either a nightmare scenario or a much needed panacea for all our healthcare woes. This widely researched study probes what happens when technologies are used to provide healthcare at a distance. Drawing on ethnographic studies of both patients and nurses involved in telecare, Jeannette Pols demonstrates  that instead of resulting in less intensive care for patients, there is instead a staggering rise in the frequency of contact between nursing staff and their patients. Care at a Distance takes the theoretical framework of telecare and provides hard data about these innovative care practices, while producing an accurate portrayal of the pros and cons of telecare.
Contents
Nightmares, promises and efficiencies in care and research
1. Introduction
    The telecare hype
    Lack of knowledge
    Noise and dust
    This study
    Various telecare practices
    Studying innovative technologies
    The chapters
Part I: Norms and nightmares
2. Caring devices: About warm hands, cold technology, and making things fit
    Warm care, cold technologies
    What (un)makes a human?
    Palliative care in Friesland
    Situating matters of disease
    Building relations through the white box
    Devices do not love us
    Fitting individuals
    The notion of fitting
    Care that does not fit
    Modest aesthetics
3. The heart of the matter: Good nursing at a distance
    Goodness of fit
    The heart of good nursing
    Good nursing in practice
    The importance of space
    Division of labour
    Keeping up old standards: correcting telecare
    Telecare as an improvement: changing norms
    New tasks, new goals
    Persistent values, shifting norms
    Contestable norms
Part II: Knowledge and promises
4. Caring for the self? Enacting problems, solutions and forms of knowledge
    Shaping problems
    Enacted trouble: objective symptoms versus subjective experience
    Articulating problems
    Responding to problems
    Enacting problems, engaging in self-care
    Fitting logics
5. Knowing patients: On practical knowledge for living with chronic disease
    The knowledge of patients
    Knowing patients?
    Tools for the case study: scientific versus practical knowledge
    Practical knowledge of people with COPD
    Introducing 'know-how'
    Transporting knowledge
    Technologies and translation
    Coordinating knowledge
    Knowing patients
    Practical knowledge and webcams
Part III: Routines and efficiencies
6. Zooming in on webcams: On the workings of a modest technology
    Doing invisible work
    Webcam practices
    'It is much more personal than the telephone'
    Together in the same room
    Trust, familiarity and intrusion
    Building on existing relations
    Magnifying relational distance
    What webcams do
    Shaping care practices
    Modest technology
7. Economies of care: New routines, new tasks
    What's in a routine?
    Routine efficiency
    Telecare and efficiency
    The place of caring
    Different technology and tasks
    Interpretation routines
    Old or new routines?
    Treacherous routines
    Efficiently organising messy practices
Conclusions: On studying innovation
8. Innovating care innovation
    The politics of innovation
    The object of research: innovative telecare practices
    Research that does not fit
    Fitting research
    Uncontrolled field studies
    The influence of users
    The status of articulations: comparisons and involving others
    The status of practical knowledge
    Discussions unleashed by an uncontrolled field study
    Close research

Acknowledgements
Appendix: Projects studied for this book
Notes
References
Index of names
Index of subjects
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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