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The Effect of Computer-Mediated Social Support in Online Communities on Patient Empowerment and Doctor-Patient Communication
Unformatted Document Text:  COMPUTER-MEDIATED SOCIAL SUPPORT 2 (e.g. Kettunen, Liimatainen, Villberg, & Perko, 2006; Salmon & Hall, 2003), the present study considers patient empowerment as an important variable in the intermediary process in which patients become more motivated to actively participate in doctor-patient communication by perceiving social support in online communities. By doing this, we can identify the mechanism by which computer-mediated social support affects doctor-patient communication through the patient empowerment. For this purpose, a recursive model hypothesizing the causal relationship among patients’ online community activities, perceived social support, a sense of empowerment, and doctor-patient communication is tested within the context of diabetes patients. Patient-centered Approach in Doctor-Patient Communication During the last few decades, doctor-patient communication has been a matter of primary concern in field of health communication. Doctor-patient communication during medical consultations primarily centers on explaining symptoms and diagnosing diseases. Sufficient information exchange and shared decision-making are considered to be the main purposes of doctor-patient communication (Ong et al, 1995). However, doctor-patient communication inevitably undergoes some complicated processes due to differences in background, experience, mood, perspective, and needs (McLeod, 1998). One of the most significant issues regarding the complexity of doctor-patient communication is the exchange of their power during medical encounters (Verhaak, Bensing, & Van Deulmen, 1998). Traditionally, paternalism that doctors dominate the agenda and decision-making process (Roter & McNeilis, 2003) was the most prevalent principle guiding doctor-patient relationships. Societal and technological changes, however, have caused a paradigm shift in doctor-patient communication. Increased competition in healthcare industries, the aging of population, and the increase in epidemics of chronic diseases sparked a greater need for patient-centered care in order to improve patients’ health outcomes. In this

Authors: Oh, Hyunjung. and Lee, Byoungkwan.
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COMPUTER-MEDIATED SOCIAL SUPPORT    2 
 
(e.g. Kettunen, Liimatainen, Villberg, & Perko, 2006; Salmon & Hall, 2003), the present 
study considers patient empowerment as an important variable in the intermediary process in 
which patients become more motivated to actively participate in doctor-patient 
communication by perceiving social support in online communities. By doing this, we can 
identify the mechanism by which computer-mediated social support affects doctor-patient 
communication through the patient empowerment. For this purpose, a recursive model 
hypothesizing the causal relationship among patients’ online community activities, perceived 
social support, a sense of empowerment, and doctor-patient communication is tested within 
the context of diabetes patients.   
Patient-centered Approach in Doctor-Patient Communication 
During the last few decades, doctor-patient communication has been a matter of 
primary concern in field of health communication. Doctor-patient communication during 
medical consultations primarily centers on explaining symptoms and diagnosing diseases. 
Sufficient information exchange and shared decision-making are considered to be the main 
purposes of doctor-patient communication (Ong et al, 1995). However, doctor-patient 
communication inevitably undergoes some complicated processes due to differences in 
background, experience, mood, perspective, and needs (McLeod, 1998).   
One of the most significant issues regarding the complexity of doctor-patient 
communication is the exchange of their power during medical encounters (Verhaak, Bensing, 
& Van Deulmen, 1998). Traditionally, paternalism that doctors dominate the agenda and 
decision-making process (Roter & McNeilis, 2003) was the most prevalent principle guiding 
doctor-patient relationships. Societal and technological changes, however, have caused a 
paradigm shift in doctor-patient communication. Increased competition in healthcare 
industries, the aging of population, and the increase in epidemics of chronic diseases sparked 
a greater need for patient-centered care in order to improve patients’ health outcomes. In this 


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