Technological determinism and eHealth

During a team meeting at the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation yesterday, a point was raised about an assumption that we may all unconsciously have regarding the use of ICTs to improve health and health care (i.e., technological determinism). I stumbled across an interesting quotation by a newly appointed VP to an “eHealth” company called Medseek.

“Information technology within the Canadian healthcare system remains the key in improving the quality and delivery of patient care. In light of ongoing budgetary constraints and human resources shortages, Canadian hospitals must continuously find innovative ways to reduce costs and increase funding.”

Of course, the VP suggested his products and company is the solution, but that’s not the point. My question is perhaps a little more basic: how do we really know that ehealth and technology will cause positive change? I do not doubt that there will be change, but will it necessarily be an improvement or positive. Neil Postman wrote about technology inherently facilitating (or perhaps even forcing) human beings to change, but cautioned that we do not really understand the nature of this change. Can it be that we change, but don’t realize the implications and/or the consequences which may be either positive or negative?

You can read the full quotation and announcement in the press release.





2 responses to “Technological determinism and eHealth”

  1. William Hill Avatar

    “Numerous U.S. pharmaceutical manufacturers are creating diversions in hopes of instilling fear and doubt in consumers who are seeking alternatives to traditional health care such as licensed Canadian online pharmacies,” says Rxium LLC CEO and founder of Rxium LLC’s CEO adds, “State programs which support ordering prescription drugs from licensed Canadian pharmacies, like those found at, will safely guide citizens to licensed Canadian pharmacies protecting them from rogue suppliers. offers U.S. citizens being wrongfully impacted by the high cost of prescription drugs a logical approach to affordable health care. This is a concept that has apparently been overlooked and ignored by large U.S. pharmaceutical manufacturers for way too long.”

    AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization for people age 50 and over that is dedicated to enhancing quality of life for all as we age. CEO of AARP Bill Novelli is in favor of a controlled approach to drug importation as he explained in an interview: “It is no longer a question of whether we should allow the importation of drugs from abroad, it is already happening in a very big way. We need to legalize this and make sure that a system is in place to guarantee safety.”

    Dr. Peter Rost, a vice-president with Pfizer, one of the nation’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturers, agrees, in a release posted on Pharmacy Choice, that U.S. citizens are the real victims: “They don’t go online to find Canadian pharmacies because they are too lazy to walk to their local pharmacy. They do this because they can’t afford the high drug prices in the U.S. These are the people who built our country and we push them to leave the U.S. to survive and stay healthy. We should all be ashamed. But we should also be thankful that there are Canadians who help our weakest, when we do nothing.”

  2. […] to as "technological determinism".  I’ve written as far back as 2004 about technological determinism and ehealth, namely to be skeptical about the absolute certainty that the IT professionals have about ehealth […]