Chiara Carboni

The implication of new technologies for professional roles in health care

Department of Health Care Governance, Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam,

Supervisors: Prof. Antoinette de Bonte, Prof. Romke van der Veen, Dr. Rik Wehrens


After a BA in Literature, I started to explore the social aspects of health(care) with an MSc in Medical Anthropology at University College London. In my dissertation, I conducted an ethnographic investigation of the ontologies of pollution on a military test and training base in Sardinia, Italy. To get more familiar with STS, I followed the research MSc Cultures of Arts, Science and Technology at Maastricht University. My thesis explored how, in the context of antimicrobial resistance, veterinary scientists maintain theoretical and material infrastructures that enable as-good-as-possible multispecies flourishings through a host of practices I termed ‘discursive care.’

Summary PhD Project

Technological innovation is known for holding perils and promises for the health care domain. If new technologies are often assessed in terms of the patient outcomes they provide, their introduction to clinical practice bears crucial consequences for the organization and provision of health care. This is particularly true in the case of many emerging technologies, that promise to drastically improve human decision-making and analytical capabilities. On the other hand, pre-existing organizational arrangements can facilitate or jeopardize the implementation of new technologies.
My project centres the dynamic interactions between technological innovation and organizational arrangements, with particular attention to changing professional roles in health care. I will ask questions such as, How do new medical technologies change the practical organisation of care delivery, and vice versa? To answer these questions, I will conduct a Critical Interpretative Synthesis of literature on technological innovation and professional roles in the sociological, STS and medical fields. I will subsequently conduct ethnographic case studies focusing on both the expectations that are embedded in the design of new technologies, and on the ways health care professional navigate the professional consequences of the introduction of new technologies in their practice. My project constitutes the STS arm Medical Delta’s programme From Prototype to Payment, aiming at bringing social science
perspectives into a consortium strongly geared towards finding technologically-oriented solutions to issues in health care. Therefore, my case studies will also focus on Medical Delta programs (e.g., imaging and big data for life, medical instruments for diagnosis and treatment and personalised, precision and regenerative medicine).