Telemedicine and the senses: a review

Deborah Lupton, Sarah Maslen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


Telemedicine technologies have been presented as solutions to the challenges of equitable, cost-effective and efficient health service provision for over two decades. The ways in which the sensory dimensions of medical care and the doctor-patient relationship are mediated via telemedicine can be important contributors to the success, failure or unintended consequences of telemedicine. In this article, we present a review of the relevant literature in social research that provides insights into the sensory dimensions of telemedicine. In addition to considering important relevant work undertaken in the sociology of health and illness, we incorporate perspectives and research from other disciplines and fields that we believe can contribute to the development of scholarship on this topic. We contend that when doctors, patients and other healthcare workers enact telemedicine, sensory judgements have become, in part, a sensing of sensors. Viewing healthcare practitioners and patients as always and already digital data assemblages of flesh-code-space-place-affect-senses, demanding certain kinds of body work and data sense-making, constitutes a productive theoretical approach for future enquiries into telemedicine and other digital health technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1557-1571
Number of pages15
JournalSociology of Health and Illness
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2017


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