Kelly Tenzek

Date of Graduation

Spring 2008


Master of Arts in Communication



Committee Chair

Kelly McNeilis


Telemedicine, communication, doctor-patient, competence, bad news, neurosurgery

Subject Categories



This research project explored patient's perceptions of telemedicine. This is a new technology that allows doctors and patients to meet in two different locations and have their medical appointments through videoconferencing equipment. Three research questions were posed dealing with telemedicine, bad news delivery, and perceptions of doctor's competence. Qualitative methods were used to engage in five in-depth-interviews to understand patients' stories of their health. Narrative theory was the framework used to analyze data. Five neurosurgical patients were interviewed in this study. The data were compiled through a case study for each patient's experiences and then analyzed for themes. Results showed two main themes, age in relation to identity and social support, with underlying tones of uncertainty throughout the process. The older patients talked about how "at their age" their health had been a long journey. Evidence of family members as a social support system became evident in patient's stories as patients and family members began to share the same story of health experiences and pain. Uncertainty was also a component that showed up consistently throughout the data in the language and hesitation to ask and answer questions and the understanding of the new technology. Results showed that patient's perceptions of the new technology were positive and deemed beneficial in certain situations.


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