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Soc Sci Med. 2001 Jun;52(12):1889-901.

Resisting and promoting new technologies in clinical practice: the case of telepsychiatry.

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School of Primary Care, University of Manchester, Rusholme Health Centre, UK.


New telecommunications technologies promise to profoundly change the spatial and temporal relationship between health professional and patient. This paper reports results from an ethnographic study of the introduction of a videophone or 'telemedicine' system intended to facilitate faster and more convenient referral of patients with anxiety and depression in primary care, to a community mental health team. We explore the reasons for contest over the telemedicine system in practice, contrasting professionals' critique of the technology in play with a more fundamental problem: the extent to which the telecommunications system threatened deeply embedded professional constructs about the nature and practice of therapeutic relationships.

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