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Exploring web-mediated communication: A genre-based linguistic study for new patterns of doctor–patient interaction in online environment


This paper questions the nature of the communicative event that takes place in online contexts between doctors and web-users, showing computer-mediated linguistic norms and discussing the nature of the patients' roles. Based on an analysis of 1005 posts occurring between doctors and the users of health service websites, I analyse how doctor-patient communication is affected by the medium and how health professionals overcome issues concerning the virtual medical visit. Results that (a) online medical answers offer a different service from that expected by users, as doctors cannot always fulfill patient requests, and (b) net consultations use aspects of traditional doctor-patient exchange and yet present a language and a style that are affected by the computer-mediated environment. Additionally, it seems that this new form leads to a different model of doctor-patient relationship. The findings are intended to provide new insights into web-based discourse in doctor-patient communication and to demonstrate the mergence of a new style in medical communication.