Wolbring Gregor Diep Lucy, Yumakulov Sophya, Ball Natalie, Leopatra Verlyn (2013) Emerging Therapeutic Enhancement Enabling Health Technologies and Their Discourses: What Is Discussed within the Health Domain? Healthcare 2013, 1(1), 20-52
So far, the very meaning of health and therefore, treatment and rehabilitation is benchmarked to the normal or species-typical body. We expect certain abilities in members of a species; we expect humans to walk but not to fly, but a bird we expect to fly. However, increasingly therapeutic interventions have the potential to give recipients beyond species-typical body related abilities (therapeutic enhancements, TE). We believe that the perfect storm of TE, the shift in ability expectations toward beyond species-typical body abilities, and the increasing desire of health consumers to shape the health system will increasingly influence various aspects of health care practice, policy, and scholarship. We employed qualitative and quantitative methods to investigate among others how human enhancement, neuro/cognitive enhancement, brain machine interfaces, and social robot discourses cover (a) healthcare, healthcare policy, and healthcare ethics, (b) disability and (c) health consumers and how visible various assessment fields are within Neuro/Cogno/ Human enhancement and within the BMI and social robotics discourse. We found that health care, as such, is little discussed, as are health care policy and ethics; that the term consumers (but not health consumers) is used; that technology, impact and needs assessment is absent; and that the imagery of disabled people is primarily a medical one. We submit that now, at this early stage, is the time to gain a good understanding of what drives the push for the enhancement agenda and enhancement-enabling devices, and the dynamics around acceptance and diffusion of therapeutic enhancements.