E-male: Digital consultations between the senior male (65+) patient and his general practitioner

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftKonferenceabstrakt til konferenceForskningpeer review


In 2009 it became mandatory for Danish General Practitioners (henceforward: GPs) to provide their patients with the opportunity to email consult. Since then the use of digital consultations in general practice has increased significantly and amounted to 16% of all GP-patient consultations in 2017 (source: Statistics Denmark). Statistics on e-mails consultation moreover show that in the age-group 70-79 years, men are more frequently consulting their GP than women. This goes against the broader picture where consultation rates and help seeking patterns in men are consistently lower than in women (Möller-Leimkühler, 2001; Madsen, 2014; Jensen, 2010). This paper departs from the statistical finding about the 70-79-year-old men’s e-mail consultation rate, a finding which can be either an inexplicable outlier or pointing towards a potential of e-mail consultation to heighten consultation rates for senior male patients. Through a qualitative methodology framed by a “media gerontological” perspective (Møller & Klausen, 2017) the paper discusses the practices, experiences, potentials and barriers of e-mail consultation from the perspective of the senior male patient. In order to explore practices and perceptions tied to the senior male patient’s e-mail consultations, 20 qualitative interviews including “media go-alongs” (Jørgensen, 2016) with men between 65-80 years of age have been conducted in 2018 and 2019. The interviews have been transcribed and coded using Nvivo. Theoretically the paper draws on critical mediatization theory (Jansson, 2017), cultural gerontology (Katz, 2000; Twigg & Martin, 2004) and feminist materialism perspectives (Lupton 2018; Barad, 2004) and asks: What are the relational connections, agential capacities and affective forces generated in and through this human-technology assemblage? The empirical material reveals that affective forces tied to the desire of the senior male patient to manage his (ageing) body and to conform to norms and ideals about “active ageing” (Katz, 2000) inspire him to e-mail consult his GP, making the e-mail consultation function as a bio-political technology (Rose, 2001). The empirical material moreover points to the e-mail as being a manageable/controllable technology as well as a “flexible” technology, experienced by the patient to be seamlessly incorporated into his daily digital media practices of e.g. reading news online or using social media. The empirical material also shows the male senior patient’s ambivalence about e-mailling their GP. This ambivalence is situated between on the one hand a desire to be accommodated by hegemonic discourses about masculinity (Hearn, 2004; Connell & Messerschmidt, 2005) - in which a man doesn’t “whine”, in other words, he manages on his own/doesn’t seek help/consult GP. On the other hand, e-mail consulting holds the potential for the patient of feeling (partly) in control, informed and actively managing his body and health hereby generating feelings of well-being.
StatusUdgivet - 2019
BegivenhedNordmedia: Communication, Creativity and Imagination: Challenging the Field - Malmö University, Malmö, Sverige
Varighed: 21. aug. 201924. aug. 2019


LokationMalmö University