Body objectified? Phenomenological perspective on patient objectification in teleconsultation

Māra Grīnfelde (Coresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The global crisis of COVID-19 pandemic has considerably accelerated the use of teleconsultation (consultation between the patient and the doctor via video platforms). While it has some obvious benefits and drawbacks for both the patient and the doctor, it is important to consider—how teleconsultation impacts the quality of the patient-doctor relationship? I will approach this question through the lens of phenomenology of the body, focusing on the question—what happens to the patient objectification in teleconsultation? To answer this question I will adopt a phenomenological approach combining both insights drawn from the phenomenological tradition, i.e., the concepts of the lived body and the object body, and the results from the phenomenologically informed qualitative research study on the patient experience of teleconsultation. The theoretical background against which I have developed this study comprises discussions within the field of phenomenology of medicine regarding the different sources of patient objectification within clinical encounter and the arguments concerning the negative impact that objectification has on the quality of care. I will argue that a factor that has frequently been identified within phenomenology of medicine as the main source of patient objectification in clinical encounters, namely, the internalized gaze of the clinician, is diminished during teleconsultation, increasing patient’s sense of agency, decreasing her sense of alienation and opening up the possibility for a closer relationship between the patient and the health care provider, all of which lead to the transformation of the hierarchical patient-health care professional relationship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-349
Number of pages15
JournalMedicine, Health Care and Philosophy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Phenomenology
  • Teleconsultation
  • Quality of health care
  • Lived body
  • Objectification

Field of Science*

  • 6.3 Philosophy, Ethics and Religion

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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