Move structure of doctors’ discourse in online medical consultations in China

Nok Hang Ching, Chung Kwong Ho

Research output: Unpublished conference presentation (presented paper, abstract, poster)Conference presentation (not published in journal/proceeding/book)Academic researchpeer-review


Online medical consultation is important in today’s world where the Internet has facilitated different kinds of communication among the users, including doctor-patient communication. The term online medical consultation (OMC) refers to ‘internet-based remote patient-doctor (consumer-provider) medical consultations’ (Al-Mahdi et al., 2015, p. 97). OMC has transformed people’s experiences related to health and healthcare. One can receive healthcare service quickly and conveniently whenever necessary.

This paper is part of a larger research project which explores OMC as a genre and identifies the linguistic features of the genre relating to interpersonal communication and relationship. In this paper, we focus on the move structure of the OMC genre. We applied Swales’ (1990, 2004) approach to investigate the move structure of doctors’ messages/discourse in OMCs in one specialism – dermatology – which took place in 2021 on three popular online medical platforms in China. The analysis identified the rhetorical moves for achieving various communicative purposes in doctors’ messages/discourse during the consultations. The results are indicative of the professional and discursive practices of doctors in the context of OMC, a fast-emerging and important computer-mediated environment where healthcare professionals, doctors in particular, provide services to patients. This study enriches the existing literature on doctor-patient communication. The observations reflect the perceptions and abilities of the doctors in the context of OMC in terms of addressing the needs of their patients and building relationship with them.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2022


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