There has been a lot of talk in recent years about the capabilities that health professionals will need in the future. This is partly because the sheer economics of future healthcare will mean that other ways of delivering routine tasks - those that once required extensive training and expensively employed specialists to deliver them - will be given managed by smart machines, wearables, robotics and AI. A friend of mine was saying the other day that she recently sat with her elderly mother in hospital for two weeks during a bout of illness, and during that time only two of the nurses actually took time to build a relationship with them. The others just came in to do things to her: … [Read more...] about Can you teach physiotherapists to be empathic?
On January 1st I left my three-year secondment looking after a team of psychology and psychotherapy lecturers and returned to my old home in the clinical sciences. And a big part of my new work will be trying to prepare our graduates for a future that is increasingly uncertain and unfamiliar. For some years now, there's been an increasing interest in the future of professions like law, accountancy, journalism, and medicine, with a whole swathe of books being published recently trying to anticipate how we'll need to adapt to the rapid rise of digital technologies. There is little doubt that artificial intelligence, automation, machine learning, and robotics are going to radically … [Read more...] about Is physiotherapy a bullshit job?
There's been quite a lot of talk in recent years about the potential for robots to support, or even replace, therapists in neurological rehabilitation clinics, home-care workers in rest homes, and teachers in the classroom. Often, stories about robotic therapy aides are sold as radical alternatives to contemporary practice. But how radical are they really? A recent post celebrating the success of a robot in helping stroke patients regain upper limb movement (link) illustrates the point. If robots like this are seen as an albeit very accurate and quantifiable extra pair of hands, then they could be said to fall into the same class of technology as another therapist, therapy assistant, or … [Read more...] about How radical is robotic physiotherapy anyway?
A few weeks ago, I took part in a panel discussion on the theme of 'The university is dead: Long live the university'. The keynote presenter - the very brilliant Professor Jane Gilbert - talked about how technology is going to disrupt every aspect of our lives in the future. Ever since the talk I've been pondering how much technology will disrupt the kinds of physiotherapy people might need in the future. Here are just three examples of disruptive technologies and ways of thinking and working that are due for a shakeup in the very near future: Fact-based technical subjects, like the kinds of science-bases subjects commonly thought of as 'core' subject in physiotherapy (anatomy, … [Read more...] about Will technology make physiotherapy obsolete?
Discipline and Punish (1975) was Michel Foucault’s sixth book and it defined Foucault’s approach to what was called the history of ideas. D&P is concerned with the ways we have learnt – over many centuries – to govern people so that they do what we want without force. The book was hugely influential for historians, sociologists and philosophers and influenced a generation of critical thinkers in areas as diverse as architecture, health care and public policy. I first came across D&P when I was reading Foucault’s work for my PhD. Foucault’s explanations of the ways we have learnt to discipline our conduct to make people docile and compliant (especially observation and surveillance, … [Read more...] about Dave Nicholls – Discipline and punish – 30DoS #15
“Disabling Practices” applies a science and technology studies lens to Disability Studies and the sociology of blindness. Drawing on ethnographic work in the North of England, Schillmeier follows the disclosure of visual disability in currency use, how relations between human bodies and money technologies cause visual disability to emerge. The emphasis moves from problem bodies to problem relations. Dis/ability is not solely in bodies or in barriers—as the social or medical models would have it—but unfolds in the interaction between bodies, senses and things (the subtitle of Schillmeier, 2010, integrating this 2007 article). I first read Schillmeier’s work in my M.A. research, in … [Read more...] about Thomas Abrams – Dis/Abling Practices – 30DoS #13
The Body Multiple is an ethnographic experiment: an ethnography of a disease. Mol studies clinical work practices, examining what athlerosclerosis is in different parts of the same hospital. The simple answer: what athlerosclerosis is varies depending on where you study it being made into an object. Mol found that we cannot assume these dispersed enactments are different perspectives of the same disease. Instead, different objects co-exist under the name ‘athlerosclerosis’. “Multiplicity” is her term for this phenomenon of an object being more than one but less than two. TBM has been highly influential in science & technology studies. TBM opened up study of what Mol calls “ontological … [Read more...] about Patty Thille – The body multiple – 30DoS #9