Mutual Shaping of Telehealthcare in Northern Saskatchewan

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Telehealth is offered as a technological solution for challenges with accessing care across Canada’s more remote communities. Telehealth technologies can bridge healthcare access gaps by connecting patients and providers; however, there are notable utilization and structural constraints that potentially challenge long-term sustainability. This article contributes a snapshot of community perspectives and experiences from Northern Saskatchewan on the use of telehealth technologies. Specifically, this article locates the strengths and barriers for telehealth use within northern and remote Indigenous community contexts and draws attention to the importance of community collaborations and place-based considerations. Drawing on theoretical insights from science and technology studies (STS), it is argued that understanding the social and spatial contexts in which telehealth is experienced is critical, especially as technologies continue to play an important role in delivering healthcare. The analysis reveals how users and technologies, along with their mediated environments and situated contexts, mutually shape telehealthcare practice and experiences. In the context of this study, a mutual shaping approach provides insight into the factors shaping technology use—it uncovers how socio-spatial and human factors (users) shape technology design, implementation, and utilization, and simultaneously, how technologies shape healthcare practices and experiences associated with telehealth and the socio-technical space of the clinic.