Online trends, linguistic innovation and further implications in the language of the online consultation: a case study

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Abstract

Integrating a corpus linguistic approach with content analysis and studies on computer mediated health discourse (Harvey and Koteyko, 2013), this study analyses the role of technology in healthcare communication and considers the evolutions in the doctor-patient exchange. Considering interactional norms, and the new literacy of online forum users (Jensen, Fage-Butler, 2014), this study investigates the trends and the linguistic patterns as well as the nature of digital doctor-patient exchanges in online question/ answer format frames, since specification of roles has changed and linguistic exchanges have evolved into different outcomes. In addition, the medium imposes its norms and a totally different communicative product has emerged. A corpus of online d/p exchanges has been consequently formed and investigated for linguistic and thematic items, in particular a) computer-mediated politeness features and stylistic care; b) medical terminology awareness and information construction; c) qualification of users’ questions and doctors’ attitudes. Results suggest the new patient/ consumer’s expertise together with the computer-mediated nature of these exchanges modify the language and consequently the relationship between the doctor and the net-user. The online consultation in q/a written frames does not offer a medical diagnosis as it is expected by users but must be construed as something different. As a conclusion, it is suggested that a new kind of communication skills from doctors must be at use to meet the new patient’s online demand.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteTrends in medical language
Pagine228-250
Numero di pagine23
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2016

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