Global, International and Cultural Issues in IS


Policy makers in the U.S. government laud the electronic exchange of health information as critical to providing more affordable, better quality health care and are investing significant resources to support this initiative. Some believe that the exchange of detailed health information is critical to gaining new knowledge in medical care and should be considered a public good. The philosophical work of Michel Foucault provides an effective lens to critically examine the implementation of health exchanges and new information technology. Foucault‘s discussion of concepts like knowledge, power, and surveillance are used to argue that a health record is a full representation of the physical body and is a means of controlling populations through information. Foucault‘s insights help us understand how storing and exchanging complete health data undermines bodily autonomy, leads to greater marginalization of minority groups, extends biopolitical control, and spurs forced conformity to physical norms.