Digital health – a new medical cosmology? The case of 23andMe online genetic testing platform
journal contributionposted on 17.04.2018, 10:09 by Paula Saukko
This article argues that commercial digital health platforms and devices commodify participatory features of the digital creating a new medical cosmology. Drawing on sociology on medical cosmologies, research on digital media and marketing and an analysis of the 23andMe online genetic testing platform, I identify three features of this cosmology. First, digital health seeks to foment ‘flow’ or enjoyable, continuous immersion in health. Second, digital health configures its consumers as ‘co-creators’ of health data and knowledge together with companies and other consumers. Third, digital health frames medical knowledge as tentative, up for revision and scepticism by expert and lay science. The way in which digital health configures consumers as immersed, creative and sceptical gives it an open-ended and participatory air. However, the conceptual discussion and the analysis of the 23andMe platform highlight that these features represent commercial capture of the lifeworld, even if they appear radical against classical medical cosmologies.
- Social Sciences
- Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies