Media Practice and Everyday Agency in Europe

Title chapter: Doctor-Patient Relationship in a Digitalised World
Author: Dorothee Christiane Meier
Keywords: Doctor-Patient Relationship, Mediatization, Social Relationship, Health-Related Online Services
Abstract: The increasing process of digitalisation leads to a growing amount of media being available at all times in more and more places. These media are not only being used in a growing number of contexts, but they also shape them. Against this backdrop, media are also gaining more and more importance in the relationship between doctors and patients. Representative studies show that an increasing number of patients as well as doctors search for information and communicate about health online. Not only is the number of users rising, but also the amount of available health-related online services. The services offered range from websites and apps, primarily used for one-way communication (such as information websites, medical online journals, wikis and eBooks), to services for mediated interpersonal communication that for example enable e-mail communication or instant messaging between patients as well as between doctor and patient (such as the websites netdoctor and DrEd), up to services that allow for communication with interactive systems (health tracking apps such as iHealth Log or iHeadache). Along with this quantitative increase in users and services, the relation between doctors and patients, and their respective roles, is possibly changing. This chapter introduces central concepts and definitions, presents the increasing usage of health-related online services in detail, and offers a classification of different types of health-related online services to describe the mediatization of the doctor-patient relationship.
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