The myth of technology in health care

Sci Eng Ethics. 2002 Jan;8(1):17-29. doi: 10.1007/s11948-002-0030-5.


Technology is believed to have liberated health care from dogmas, myths and speculations of earlier times. However, we are accused of using technology in an excessive, futile and even detrimental way, as if technology is compelling our actions. It appears to be like the monster threatening Dr. Frankenstein or like the sorcerer's broom in the hand of the apprentice. That is, the same technology that should liberate us from myths, appears to be mythical. The objective of this article is to investigate the background for the re-entrance of the myth: How we encounter it and how we can explain it. The main point is that a myth of technology is normative: it relates 'is' and 'ought' and directs our actions. This becomes particularly clear in health care. Hence, if there is a myth of technology, it is an ethical issue, and should be taken seriously.

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care*
  • Humans
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Technology*