Digitalization and Personal Health Data – InfraHealth 2021

How do infrastructures in healthcare play a role in the transformative process of digitalization? What are the critical perspectives on the evolution and utilization of digital infrastructures for personal health data and how digitalization practices emerged during the pandemic?

These were some of the key themes of the InfraHealth 2021, the 8th international conference on infrastructures in healthcare, hosted by the University of Agder. The conference took place at Thon Hotel Norge in Kristiansand, Norway in the last week of September. The conference was very well organized and exciting as it was the first in-person conference for most of the participants after a long covid break.

The conference kicked off with a very knowledgeable keynote by Ole Hanseth from the University of Oslo around e-Health infrastructure regimes presenting a timeline of the health sector’s digital transformation, which also provided a context for many of the papers that were presented on both days. The presented papers discussed the role of ICT in health care from a socio-technical perspective. Many engaging and exciting talks were made that sparked constructive discussions among the audience.

The presented papers covered a wide range of topics around healthcare like the implementation of electronic health record systems, user participation, infrastructures, telemedicine, welfare technologies, the mental health of refugees, and data work in healthcare. Most of the contributions were methodologically based on ethnographic, case, or field studies. All the presented papers received constructive and valuable feedback from the experienced scholars present at the conference. Eivor Oborn from Warwick business school UK delivered the second keynote discussing digital transformations and change during the crisis, which was equally informative and well-aligned with the conference’s theme.

Besides all the informative paper presentations and talks, the conference also provided a platform for young researchers like us to do networking with fellow PhDs and experienced scholars across Europe. During the coffee and lunch breaks, the conference organizers and other senior scholars talked to the young researchers, answered their questions, and provided feedback around their Ph.D. research.

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