Can digital health democratize health care?

Bioethics (forthcoming)
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Abstract

Much has been said about the potential of digital health technologies for democratizing health care. But how exactly is democratization with digital health technologies conceptualized and what does it involve? We investigate debates on the democratization of health care with digital health and identify that democratization is being envisioned as a matter of access to health information, health care, and patient empowerment. However, taking a closer look at the growing pool of empirical data on digital health, we argue that these technologies come short of materializing these goals, given the unequal health outcomes they facilitate. Building on this evidence, we argue that not only debates on democratization need to be connected to concerns of social determinants of health but also debates on the impact of digital health need to go far beyond democratization and engage with concerns of health justice.

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