EASST/4S 2020: Health Made Digital Virtual Panel

Welcome to the EASST/4S 2020 virtual conference panel, Health Made Digital!

This panel is a collaboration between Danya Glabau (New York University Tandon School of Engineering) and Hined Rafeh (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute). It builds on earlier collaborative efforts such as the 2019 Theorizing the Web keynote panel, By The Numbers.

You can find the official information, including a link to join the synchronous portion of the panel if you are registered for the conference, at the EASST/4S program here. Please note that we are combining speakers from 2 separate panels into one panel given the virtual format. You can find the rest of the panelists’ information and abstracts here.

To balance the virtual format with the schedules of our panelists, we designed a hybrid, synchronous and asynchronous panel format. In July 2020, panelists were asked to submit a short “lightning talk” of up to 5 minutes addressing the question, What does “health made digital” mean in your work? Then, Co-Chair Danya Glabau recorded a short talk responding to the panelists’ responses to the question and proposed 5 questions for further discussion. Finally, on Thursday, August 20, 2020, panelists will convene with Co-Chair Hined Rafeh to discuss the lightning talks, expanded paper talks, and discussion questions in a 2-hour discussion, from 6-8pm CEST (12-2pm EDT). Again, you can find the link to join this session here (registration required).

Here are links to materials from the panel that participants have agreed to share with the public. If you plan to join us, please feel free to prepare by browsing the panelists talks:

Finally, here was our original call for papers:

With the rise of digital information technologies, the work of aggregating and exchanging data about our health and habits has become faster and easier. From genetic screening to self-tracking apps, and from electronic medical records to digital data archives, digital technologies are reconfiguring healthcare systems and our notions of health. Following from pioneering STS work on genetic health data (Nelson 2016), precision medicine (Ferryman and Pitcan 2018), and self-tracking devices (Lupton 2016, Schull 2016, Nafus and Neff 2016) on the one hand, and recent work on the “bioeconomy” (Birch 2017, 2018) and speculative bioeconomic futures (Benjamin 2016) on the other, this panel aims to stage generative exploration of what counts as health data in the digital age and how it impacts individuals, patient communities, and practices of public health. In a variety of professional and geographic contexts, we hope to consider questions like: What gets considered health data by regulators, and how does that shape its governance and exchange? How do information systems adapt to the introduction of new forms of “health” data, like social media use or purchasing habits? And what publics and expert communities will, or should, have a say in defining, collecting, and governing new forms of health data? By framing these questions in STS literatures, this panel will illustrate how the discipline’s approach to defining slippery objects like “digital health” and “health information” contributes to understanding health and biomedicine as deeply political matters.

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