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

Soc Sci Med. 2001 Jun;52(12):1889-901. doi: 10.1016/s0277-9536(00)00305-1.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Attitude to Computers*
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Diffusion of Innovation
  • Family Practice / methods*
  • Family Practice / trends
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Pilot Projects
  • Psychiatry / methods*
  • Psychiatry / trends
  • Remote Consultation / methods*
  • Remote Consultation / statistics & numerical data
  • Telecommunications / trends
  • United Kingdom