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Health on the net: the doctor answers

  • Authors: Zummo, ML
  • Publication year: 2012
  • Type: Capitolo o Saggio (Capitolo o saggio)
  • Key words: computer-mediated communication, doctor-patient exchange
  • OA Link:


The global net system has certainly played an important role in the increase and the following modification of communication dynamics. The term 'online community' has become increasingly popular and refers to a group of people in the online forums who share opinions and information as well as strong feelings of camaraderie, empathy and support (Preece 2005). Message boards have become the easiest way of asking for any information, and anyone can register to participate in an online discussion. The exchange of detailed knowledge, ideas or questions satisfies the users in most discourse domains because such exchange is fast, easy, and free. However, in particular situations such as doctor-patient interviews, computer mediated communication is still a limit. There are many sites that offer on-line medical help for free or with a pre-payment service. They permit the saving of time and money and are considered to be convenient, reliable and affordable with generalists' and specialists' help potentially available 24 hours a day. The online community that actively uses service sites such as these is also attracted by the anonymity that is guaranteed by the nickname used in comment entries. Time, money-saving and anonymity guarantee an enjoyable aspect to these interactions.