Patient-oriented ICT: Policy and practice

Doctoral thesis.

The development of ICT aiming at patient users is a prioritised area in health care. This thesis investigates the policy background for this development, and on the changes that take place when health ICT is introduced to patients.

The research draws on a document study from the health ICT sector and on two case studies where an electronic communication tool was introduced in doctor – patient communication. The findings indicate a discrepancy between expected and actual changes: patients’ use of ICT in everyday practice is more varied than the dominant conceptual models of the patient – ICT relationship take into account.

Policies express expectations of health ICTs to function as riverbeds of information and thus contribute to realise contemporary ideals of patient involvement and new public management. In everyday practice, however, patients also relate to technology as security alarms, as shields to the pathologising of everyday life, as tokens of competence, and as symbolic attention from the health care system. Patient-oriented ICT matters to contemporary performances of health and of the patient. The technology does more than is expected of it, and opens for a new flexibility in patients’ relationship to health professional advice and care.


Northern Norway Regional Health Authority (Helse Nord RHF).

More information about the project

Project description and thesis at

Last updated

15 December 2016