Form and semantic of communication in dental encounters: oral health, probability and time: Oral health, probability and time

Olga Boiko, Peter Robinson, Paul Ward, Barry Gibson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The purpose of this article is twofold. First, it introduces a new method for capturing the intricacy of communication in contemporary healthcare encounters. The method, termed 'form analysis', was developed from the systems theory of Niklas Luhmann. It is hoped that the paper will introduce form analysis as a new method to help understand complex communications in health systems. Second, the paper demonstrates an application of form analysis in communications in dental encounters. Data were collected through 36 observed encounters between five dentists and 20 patients in UK NHS primary and secondary care dental clinics. The study found a range of semantic forms relevant for these encounters, three of which are discussed at length in this article. The forms of communications illustrate how the dichotomy of dental professional and patient perspectives transforms into complex, non-linear observations about oral health. Dentistry, it seems, remains up to date not only through the emergence of new technologies, but also through reflexivity in observing and assessing oral health. These observations are exposed to the contingency of clinical decisions and the temporal aspects of the clinical system.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)16-32
    Number of pages17
    JournalSociology of Health and Illness
    Volume33
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011

    Keywords

    • Dental encounters
    • Form analysis
    • Luhmann
    • Semantics

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