Rethinking agency and medical adherence technology: applying Actor Network Theory to the case study of Digital Pills

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Abstract

Much literature surrounding medical technology and adherence posits that technology is a mechanism for social control. This assumes that the medical establishment can take away patients' agency. Although power relationships and social control can play a key role, medical technology can also serve as an agentive tool to be utilized. We (1) offer the alternative framework of Actor Network Theory to view medical technology, (2) discuss the literature on medication adherence and technology, (3) delve into the ramifications of looking at adherence as a network and (4) use Digital Pills as a case study of dispersed agency.

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