Self-tracking, telemedicine and artifical ingelligence. On Digitalization and Health

Self-tracking, telemedicine and artifical ingelligence. On Digitalization and Health
Summer 2021

Media Studies, University of Paderborn
MA Media Studies, MA Culture and Society, NF Computer Science BA / MA, BA / MA Popmusic

Dr. Melike Şahinol as substitute for Prof. Dr. Jutta Weber
Office hours by appointment

“Reconfig for digital health” (Veron Lai)
with thanks to Jenny Cham for this image:
CC-BY 2.0

The digital transformation trends in healthcare are remarkable, especially in times of pandemic all over the world: Corona apps, telemedicine and various other technological possibilities, are supposed to help us cope with the crisis. The use of information and communication technologies in healthcare systems is not new, of course, but the social and cultural impacts of digitalization on health and well-being are becoming (recent) new topics of discourse. In order to understand the interdependencies of medicine, technology and society – involving non-human actors, it is first necessary to establish some basics for the sociological view on medicine and society. These include, first, various approaches to the medical sociology and concepts of health and disease. Biopower and biopolitics are important topics for understanding, for example, the role of health policy regulatory processes and their implications. Biomedicalization and enhancement represent some specific features of the transformation processes of medicine and society, reflecting on these processes in parallel with digitalization, DIY (Do-It-Yourself) culture, bio- and body hacking tendencies, and Quantified Self movement. Medical innovations have produced hybrids, cyborgs, and chimeras in part through these movements but also through neuro/bio-technological attempts at healing that directly interfere with human biology. With technological possibilities not only risks but also opportunities arise for vulnerable groups, especially people with disabilities. On the other hand, however, despite its advanced features, medicine seems to (still) disadvantage certain (gender) groups in their health.

Learning Objectives: Introduction to digital health and some of its cross-cutting issues – from biomedicalization, body hacking to enhancement.


Basic Literature:
Clarke, A. E., Mamo, L., Fosket, J. R., Fishman, J. R., & Shim, J. K. (Eds.). (2010). Biomedicalization: Technoscience, health, and illness in the US. Durham: Duke University Press.

Svalastog, A. L., Gajović, S. & A. Webster (Eds.), Navigating Digital Health Landscapes: A Multidisciplinary Analysis. Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore.

Certificate of Attendance: Presentation & Moderation: 20-minute presentation and discussion moderation. Active participation in the seminar.
Exam: Presentation: 20-minute presentation and discussion. Active participation in the seminar. Preparation of 2 scientific essays (6 pages each).



13.4. Constitutive meeting and introduction

Lupton, D. (2017). Digital health: critical and cross-disciplinary perspectives. Routledge. (Introduction, pp.1-7)


20.4. Biomedicalization

Clarke, A. E., Shim, J. K., Mamo, L., Fosket, J. R., & Fishman, J. R. (2010). Biomedicalization: A Theoretical and Substantive Introduction. In A. E. Clarke, J. K. Shim, L. Mamo, J. R. Fosket, & J. R. Fishman (Eds.), Biomedicalization: Technoscience, health, and illness in the US (pp. 1-44). Durham & London: Duke University Press.


27.4. Accelerating medicalization through technologies

Maturo, A., & Moretti, V. (2018). Digital health and the gamification of life: How apps can promote a positive medicalization: Emerald Group Publishing. (here: Chapter 3, 47-70).


4.5. eHealth applications

Şahinol, M. (2021). eHealth Applications in Knowledge Landscapes. In A. L. Svalastog, S. Gajović, & A. Webster (Eds.), Navigating Digital Health Landscapes: A Multidisciplinary Analysis (pp. 193-221). Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan.


11.5. Telemedicine and Covid-19

Bokolo, A. J. (2021). Application of telemedicine and eHealth technology for clinical services in response to COVID‑19 pandemic. Health and Technology, 11(2), 359-366.

Nina Pappot, Gry Assam Taarnhøj, and Helle Pappot. Telemedicine and e-Health Solutions for COVID-19: Patients’ Perspective. Jul 2020. 847-849.


18.5. Biomedical Informatics and Digital Medicine

Martin-Sanchez, F., & Lopez-Campos, G. (2016). The New Role of Biomedical Informatics in the Age of Digital Medicine. Methods of Information in Medicine, 55 5, 392-402.

Al-Shorbaji, N., Bellazzi, R., Gonzalez Bernaldo de Quiros, F., Koch, S., Kulikowski, C. A., Lovell, N., . . . Sarkar, I. N. (2016). Discussion of” The New Role of Biomedical Informatics in the Age of Digital Medicine”. Methods of Information in Medicine. 2016 Oct 17; 55 (5): 403-21.

25.5. Reading Week


1.6. Emgerging Practices 1

Wexler, A. (2017). The social context of “do-it-yourself” brain stimulation: neurohackers, biohackers, and lifehackers. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 11, 224.



8.6. Emerging Practices 2

Duarte, B. N. (2014). Entangled agencies: New individual practices of human-technology hybridism through body hacking. NanoEthics, 8(3), 275-285.

Task: Health related infrastructure walk @ home


15.6. Biopolitics and eHealth

Ajana, B. (2017). Digital health and the biopolitics of the Quantified Self. DIGITAL HEALTH.


22.6. Self-tracking & Sports

Rapp, A., & Tirabeni, L. (2020). Self-tracking while doing sport: Comfort, motivation, attention and lifestyle of athletes using personal informatics tools. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 140, 102434.

MIT Technological Reviews: “3D athlete tracking technology gives sportspeople real-time biomechanical data to visualize their performance and improve every movement“ (accessed: April 12, 2021)


29.6. Guest lecture

with Emine Öncüler Yayalar (STS lecturer, Bilkent University, Ankara)
„Self help groups and online support: a Sociological Perspective“

Reading: Lupton, D. (2013). The digitally engaged patient: Self-monitoring and self-care in the digital health era. Social Theory & Health, 11(3), 256-270.


6.7. Advanced Medicine or old problems?

Jackson, G. (2019). The female problem: how male bias in medical trials ruined women’s health The Guardian. Retrieved from

Does Digital Health Technology Know Women? (


13.7. World Café: Digitalization, AI and Health

Is this the future of health? | The Economist (

Can Artificial Intelligence Improve our Healthcare? (

20.7. Final

If you hope to use this syllabus in your own course, please attribute it to me.