Care in medical product development: doctors as carers, consultants, entrepreneurs

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The paper is based on empirical data from 29 interviews across 16 businesses based in Turkey, including manufacturing SMEs, technology start-ups and design consultancies, for the design and development of around 25 medical products, most of which are aimed at export substitution for Turkish and surrounding markets, to be used in surgeries, laboratories and rehabilitation. The analysis mapped out relationships between industrial designers, engineers and health professionals, namely doctors, nurses and physiotherapists, within the context of medical product development, with special emphasis on the ways in which the actors and the processes involved distant references to as well as hands-on engagement with human bodies, those of both patients and health professionals.
Approaching "care" broadly, our investigation reveals diverse forms in which care is manifest in the tension between the logic of care and the logic of choice, the everyday and the standardized, and under the sign of biomedical and entrepreneurial discourses. Design processes involve projections about future care situations and care requirements formulated as user experience, negotiated and standardized in abstract terms in the multidisciplinary project, as well as concrete care situations in the form of usability trials. Care, and the underlying attentiveness and skills, are found in the work of the physiotherapist in the clinic; so can one indicate the specific forms of care involved in their work in consulting designers and engineers in product development, or in their entrepreneurial ventures, albeit in tension with objectifications of patients' and medical professionals' bodies in product development where they are considered as diagrammatic representations and anatomic geometries of interactions, and as value propositions in the operations of capitalization.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Event6th Nordic STS Conference 2023: Disruption and repair in and beyond STS - University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
Duration: 7. Jun 20239. Jun 2023


Conference6th Nordic STS Conference 2023
LocationUniversity of Oslo
Internet address


  • design
  • product development
  • care
  • health


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