Date of Graduation

Spring 2011

Degree

Master of Arts in Communication

Department

Communication

Committee Chair

Heather Carmack

Keywords

autonomy, connectedness, discourse, health care, patient empowerment, relational dialectics

Subject Categories

Communication

Abstract

Internet Web sites are overwhelming health consumers with an abundance of health related advice, tips and education. In order for a patient to gain more autonomy in the patient – physician relationship, we assume they need more knowledge because they have traditionally relied on the physician for health related information. As such, we need to understand the patient –physician relationship in terms of the autonomy vs. connectedness dialectic provided by Baxter. This study specifically examines the news outlet, CNN (cable news network) and their ‘In Depth: Empowered Patient' Web page. Segments posted on the Web page are analyzed through a critical lens using a constant comparative analysis to evaluate online health information in relation to patient empowerment. Seven themes emerged from the public discourse provided by CNN. The themes of (1) challenging the doctor (2) science vs. ‘gut feeling' (3) research and investigation and (4) patient responsibility pertaining to patient decision-making capabilities. The themes of (5) full-disclosure (6) phraseology and (7) managing communication suggest that the public discourse presented by CNN promotes an emphasis in quality discourse between patients and physicians. KEYWORDS: autonomy, connectedness, discourse, health care, patient empowerment, relational dialectics

Copyright

© Shanna LeiAnn Goldsmith

Campus Only

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