Context: Video has long been recognised as providing an important resource within medical education, particularly, perhaps, for training in primary health care. As a resource for research, and more specifically within qualitative social science studies of medical practice, video has proved less pervasive, despite its obvious advantages.
Methods: In this paper, we sketch an approach to using video to inform the analysis of medical practice and the ways in which health care is accomplished through social interaction and collaboration. Drawing on our own research, we discuss two brief examples: the first involves the use of computing technology in primary health care and the second concerns informal instruction during surgery. The examples illustrate the multimodal character of medical work, how activities are accomplished through the interplay of talk, the visual and the use of material artefacts. They also illustrate the ways in which video provides access to the complex forms of social interaction and collaboration that underpin health care.
Discussion: We reflect upon the research opportunities afforded by video and the ways in which video-based studies of interaction can contribute to the practice and practicalities of medicine.