Health, self-management and empowerment: mHealth technologies from a public health perspective
Dr Tereza Hendl
Thursday, 23 May 2019, 5.30pm to 7pm
Lecture Theatre, St Cross College, 61 St Giles, Oxford OX1 3LZ
The New St Cross Special Ethics Seminars are jointly organised by the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics and the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities.
Mobile health (mHealth) technologies are a rapidly developing field. The incorporation of mHealth technologies into the daily lives of 'health consumers' is increasingly being promoted as an avenue to strengthening patient autonomy and improving population health outcomes. Advocates for mHealth argue that these technologies facilitate better-informed health choices and provide access to healthcare to a wider cohort of individuals at lower costs. In their view, health professionals and caregivers are able to diagnose and monitor individuals without face-to-face visits, while individuals can self-manage, which enhances preventative to post-operative care. However, the emphasis on self-management - implicit in mHealth - raises ethical concerns. Some have argued that the individualisation of health outcomes is troubling as it fails to account for broader socio-economic and political factors, which shape individual, public and global health. Hence, the shift towards self-responsibility for health might increase inequities and undermine social justice in health. Based on an interrogation of the possibilities, benefits, challenges and risks associated with mHealth, I investigate whether and under which circumstances mHealth can produce good public health outcomes and empower users.
Tereza Hendl holds a PhD in Philosophy from Macquarie University, Australia. Her dissertation explores the ethics of prenatal sex selection for social reasons. She has previously worked as a Research Associate at the University of Sydney and the University of Melbourne. Currently, she is a Postdoctoral Researcher and Co-project Leader on the BMBF-funded project “META – mHealth: Ethical, legal and societal aspects in the technological age” at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich. Her research interests include the epistemology, ethical and social implications of emerging technologies, concerns pertaining algorithmic bias, postcolonial feminist debates about social justice and issues regarding sex, gender and disability. In May 2019, she will conduct research at the Ethox Centre in Oxford as part of the Caroline Miles Visiting Scholarship.