Technology reveals the nature of our dreams and our nightmares. It is the architecture of our intimacies[1].

Technology levels our world. Nowhere is this changing relationship between hierarchy and network, between power and individual agency, more visible than in the emerging world of online health communities. The plummeting cost of technology and the rise of network functionality clears out historical constructs and allows us to build anew.

What we decide to construct is up to us. We can choose to recreate hierarchies and centralised power structures that foster dependent relationships. Or we can choose to build distributed networks, where agency is paramount. What we shape, in the next few short years, will define the nature of our health care services as the full weight of technology is felt across the sector. It is up to us.

Regardless of which route we choose the truth is that this new technological reality finds us in a more complex, inter-relational and entangled world, where objective truth is in retreat and where there are no absolute answers to anything anymore.

Where does this leave us, as clinicians, managers, patients and carers? Well we have a choice – to retreat into the old ways or to embrace our place in these new and fast emerging networks of knowledge and relationships and to work together towards an optimal future for healthcare.

Finally, health is emerging into the 21st Century.



[1] Paraphrased from quotes from Dr. Peter Rogers, Macquarie University and Professor Sherry Turkle from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.