Patient-centred communication in British, Italian and Spanish Ask-the-Expert healthcare websites

Pounds, Gabrina and De Pablos-Ortega, Carlos (2016) Patient-centred communication in British, Italian and Spanish Ask-the-Expert healthcare websites. Communication and Medicine, 12 (2-3). 225–241. ISSN 1612-1783

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Existing studies on the online asynchronous consultation mode afforded by Ask-the-Expert health websites (e.g. Thomson et al. 2012) are concerned with the possible loss in the quality of interaction between patients and clinicians in this type of consultation. The potential loss is worrying, given the central role of patient-centred communication (PCC), particularly empathy, in medical consultation practice and patients’ increasing use of and reliance on online consultations. This study addresses the following three related questions: 1. To what extent is PCC represented in Ask-the-Expert healthcare websites? 2. Are there noticeable differences in PCC between sites operating in different linguistic and cultural settings (UK, Spain and Italy)? 3. What are the implications of the above? 70 exchanges from the leading independent health websites NetDoctor (UK), Netdoctor (Spain) and Medicitalia (Italy) were analysed, adapting a framework developed for the linguistic analysis of clinical empathy (combining discourse analytical and pragmatic categories, Author 2011) and drawing on existing definitions of PCC and classifications of advice-giving structures. The analysis shows that PCC is used on these sites to varying degrees, conforming to the site’s affordances. The significance of the findings and potential further applications of the analytical framework are discussed in the last part.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: patient-centred communication,empathy,advice,ask-the-expert healthcare websites,discourse analysis,pragmatics
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Language and Communication Studies
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Migration Research Network
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2016 09:15
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2023 09:40
DOI: 10.1558/cam.27231


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