COVID-19 and Dispositions of the Chilean Healthcare System: Sociomedical Networks in Care Decisions of Chronic Illnesses

Nicolás Schöngut-Grollmus, María Alejandra Energici, Natalia Zuñiga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This article is an empirical work on decision-making processes in the case of persons with chronic illnesses in the COVID19 pandemic context, regarding their medical care and self-care. Medical decisions are processes that guide the production of a health diagnosis or treatment, using the available information, where the patients’ preferences are often incorporated. This article tackles the impact of the pandemic on chronically ill patients’ medical decisions when the care system has been significantly altered by it. Considering that health decisions are importantly embedded in social and economic conditions, the pandemic affects a precarious care system and constrains individual possibilities. Chile has a weak support infrastructure for caregivers and a health care system that promotes private health and a low-quality public health system. Hence, the pandemic is an adverse context for chronically ill patients and it alters the conditions in which medical decisions are taken. We performed 10 interviews with chronically ill patients who took responsibility for their own health decisions: five patients diagnosed with common chronic diseases and five patients diagnosed with rare chronic diseases. After Reflexive Thematic Analysis, the results show that the Chilean health system is extremely precarious and that not many alternatives are or have been offered to chronically ill patients in the COVID19 context.

Original languageEnglish
Article number666758
JournalFrontiers in Sociology
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • chronic illness
  • decision-making
  • dispositions
  • medical decisions
  • rare diseases
  • sociomedical networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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