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Text & Talk

An Interdisciplinary Journal of Language, Discourse & Communication Studies

Ed. by Sarangi, Srikant

IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 0.400
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CiteScore 2018: 0.61

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.305
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.670

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Volume 21, Issue 1-2


Spotlight on the patient

Paul Drew
Published Online: 2008-06-02 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/text.1.21.1-2.261


This article reviews the contribution which papers in this collection make to a changing focus in the study of medical interactions—one which pays closer attention to the role of the patient and patient perceptions, both within the medical consultation, and beyond that in the everyday world in which symptoms are first experienced by patients. What emerges from the studies reported here is a less simplistic picture than the one represented in research about the medical interview, as though that is a standard, unidimensional form. We begin to see instead how patients actively participate in medical interactions and in decisions about treatment. We see also how medical interviews unfold according to the communicative choices made by both doctors and patients—a more genuinely interactive approach than hitherto. A number of inter-related themes are identified, in which the patient's role is foregrounded: these include the initiatives which patients make; how they break free of the medical agenda in order to express their concerns; how delicate issues are handled in the interview; patients' lay theories and self-diagnoses (this from a more ‘holistic’ view of the patients' experience); and misalignments between lay and medical perspectives.

Keywords: medical interaction; consultation; patients

About the article

Paul Drew

Paul Drew (Sociology, University of York, UK) has conducted extensive research on the comparative analysis of language and interaction in institutional settings. This began with a study of criminal courts (Order in Court, 1979, with Atkinson), and more recently has included studies of calls to the police, out-of-hours calls to the doctor, and medical interactions—currently as part of an interdisciplinary project on patient participation in medical decision making, funded by the UK's Department of Health.

Published Online: 2008-06-02

Published in Print: 2001-06-12

Citation Information: Text – Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of Discourse, Volume 21, Issue 1-2, Pages 261–268, ISSN (Online) 1613-4117, ISSN (Print) 0165-4888, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/text.1.21.1-2.261.

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