Jessica Coetzer

Doing eHealth Right

Athena Institue, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Supervisors: Dr Teun Zuiderent-Jerak, Dr Christine Dedding and Dr Tjerk-Jan Schuitmaker-Warnaar


Jessica has studied occupational therapy at the University of Cape Town, which sparked her drive to work towards equity in healthcare provision. Following this she moved to Amsterdam where she completed the MSc (research) in Global Health at the VU. Jessica completed two theses during her masters, the first focusing on equal employment opportunities for women with psychosocial disabilities in Kenya and the second on improving access to mental healthcare for youth in Zimbabwe.


This project aims to explore how systems play a role in creating and perpetuating health inequalities through the development and dissemination of digital health (or eHealth). Although eHealth is seen as a tool that holds much promise in making healthcare more accessible and efficient, this is not the case for all. The rapid push towards the digitalization of the healthcare system results in certain groups of people (for example the elderly, people with a migrant background, people with a low socioeconomic position), who already often experience health inequity, being further excluded from participating in healthcare. This project seeks to understand the systemic mechanisms such a technology development practices, policy and legislation and healthcare system infrastructure that currently leads towards the exclusion of people at a distance to the online world, whilst simultaneously working with systemic actors to acknowledge and transform the development of eHealth to be more inherently inclusive. This project focuses on merging systems thinking perspectives with feminist STS principles to enact change. Methods included qualitative analysis, as well as elements of Participatory Action Research, transdisciplinary research and STS making and doing approaches.