The Potential of the Imitation Game Method in Exploring Healthcare Professionals' Understanding of the Lived Experiences and Practical Challenges of Chronically Ill Patients
This paper explores the potential and relevance of an innovative sociological research method known as the Imitation Game for research in health care. Whilst this method and its potential have until recently only been explored within sociology, there are many interesting and promising facets that may render this approach fruitful within the health care field, most notably to questions about the experiential knowledge or 'expertise' of chronically ill patients (and the extent to which different health care professionals are able to understand this experiential knowledge). The Imitation Game can be especially useful because it provides a way to map this experiential knowledge more systematically, without falling in the dual trap of either over-relying on in-depth, but highly specific phenomenological 'insider'-approaches that are hard to generalize, or, alternatively, problematically reducing the rich life-worlds of patients to a set of indicators in a questionnaire. The main focus of this paper is theoretical and conceptual: explaining the Imitation Game method, discussing its usefulness in the health care domain, and exploring the ways in which the approach can be utilized for chronic illness care. The paper presents both a conceptual and empirical exploration of how the Imitation Game method and its underlying theoretical concepts of 'contributory expertise' and 'interactional expertise' can be transferred from the sociological realm to the field of health care, what kinds of insights can be gained from the method, which methodological issues it may raise, and what potentially fruitful research routes can be explored. I argue that the Imitation Game can be thought of as a 'social learning experiment' that simultaneously enables the participants to learn from each other's perspectives, allows researchers to explore exciting new possibilities, and also offers the tools to intervene in the practice that is being studied.
|Chronic illness, Experiential knowledge, Imitation Game, Interactional expertise, Intervention, Patient expertise, Patient-provider communication|
|Health Care Analysis: an international journal of health care philosophy and policy|
|Organisation||Health Care Governance (HCG)|
Wehrens, R.L.E. (2014). The Potential of the Imitation Game Method in Exploring Healthcare Professionals' Understanding of the Lived Experiences and Practical Challenges of Chronically Ill Patients. Health Care Analysis: an international journal of health care philosophy and policy. doi:10.1007/s10728-014-0273-8