Lecture on the “Subject of innovation”


On November 30, I hold a lecture  at the Insitute of Health Policy & Management at Rotterdam University. This is the first time I provide a somewhat comprehensive overview of my PhD research. Below is a short abstract of the lecture topic.

Innovation in healthcare does not leave the patient untouched. The healthcare reforms of the past decades have partly aimed at giving shape to a new type of patient. For the Netherlands, this is probably best summarised by the Public Health Council’s term “good patientship”. Technology and innovation play an important role in this development. First, it is important to consider which measurements are devised to assess the impact of innovation. It is expected to make both patients and care providers more productive. Second, there are a number of policies to stimulate innovation. I restrict myself to attempts – so-far unsuccessful – to roll out an infrastructure for a national Electronic Health Record. The way in which this infrastructure is devised is not neutral in terms of the relations it would mediate between patients, care providers and other players in the healthcare sector. Third, there are the concrete technologies or applications that such policies are expected to generate, with which patients will interact. These three ways of shaping the patient roughly correspond to what the French philosopher Michel Foucault has referred to as three modes in which people are made subjects: “modes of inquiry”, “dividing practices” and “self-constitution. I use this Foucauldian frame to examine these different aspects of innovation in healthcare. Ultimately, there is not one “subject of innovation”, but many.

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