Unequal Consumers: consumerist healthcare technologies and their creation of new inequalities

Laura M. Visser, Inge L. Bleijenbergh, Yvonne W.M. Benschop, Allard C.R. van Riel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This article examines how consumerist technology creates new inequalities among patients in healthcare. More specifically, we analyse a communication technology that presents a case of consumerization of patients. Using critical diversity literature, we theorize how consumerism embedded in technology assumes a ‘universal individual’, creating a tension for healthcare professionals between acknowledging differences among patients while aiming for equal treatment of all patients. Based on our empirical analysis of so-called personal online health communities, we explore, at the micro level, how healthcare professionals deal with this tension. We identify four different practices: lacking awareness of differences, downplaying differences, discomfort around acknowledging differences and actively accommodating differences. We theorize how they ultimately all create new inequalities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1025-1044
Number of pages20
JournalOrganization Studies
Volume40
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019

Keywords

  • consumerism
  • healthcare
  • inequality
  • technology

Cite this

Visser, Laura M. ; Bleijenbergh, Inge L. ; Benschop, Yvonne W.M. ; van Riel, Allard C.R. / Unequal Consumers : consumerist healthcare technologies and their creation of new inequalities. In: Organization Studies. 2019 ; Vol. 40, No. 7. pp. 1025-1044.
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Unequal Consumers : consumerist healthcare technologies and their creation of new inequalities. / Visser, Laura M.; Bleijenbergh, Inge L.; Benschop, Yvonne W.M.; van Riel, Allard C.R.

In: Organization Studies, Vol. 40, No. 7, 07.2019, p. 1025-1044.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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