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A cross-cultural comparison of Patient-Centered Communication and empathy on Ask-The-Expert healthcare websites

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1. Auflage, 2019

Scientific Study from the year 2018 in the subject Health - Miscellaneous, grade: 2,0, University of Bonn (Institut für Anglistik, Amerikanistik und Keltologie), language: English, abstract: This work investigates whether online healthcare experts from Germany and the UK make use of empathy and Patient-Centered Communication (PCC) in their expert responses to online patients struggling with depression. The work primarily focuses on cross-cultural differences and similarities for which a discourse-analytical approach is used in order to analyse relevant communicative strategies. Based on the findings, the author aims to deduce possible implications and questions whether cultural awareness is needed in online Ask-The-Expert healthcare contexts. The author claims that empathy and PCC is used differently in the online healthcare context in Germany and the UK. Ask-The-Expert advice-giving websites and forums have become common in the World Wide Web to provide users with lay person or expert opinions and support on specific topics. Online health support and intervention has become particularly popular. Studies have provided evidence that the usage of empathy in clinical consultations can increase patient satisfaction, adherence to treatment plans and recovery rates. It is especially patients with psychosocial problems that have been found to be more likely to want and expect PCC in medical consultations. While it is widely accepted that empathy and PCC is key to successful medical face-to-face consultations, some research has suggested that emphatic communicative strategies are harder to achieve in online communication. It has even been suggested that empathy and PCC might not be deemed important by either the online expert or the patient.
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