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Talking together: consumer communities in healthcare

Hogg, Gillian M. and Laing, Angus and Newholm, Terry (2004) Talking together: consumer communities in healthcare. Advances in Consumer Research, 31. pp. 67-73. ISSN 0098-9258

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Consumer involvement in computer mediated communities (CMCs) is increasing particularly in high involvement services such as healthcare. This paper examines the role of CMCs as providers of patient information and support and the subsequent effect on the relationship between 'informed' consumers and health care providers. The evolving dialogue between consumers in virtual communities provides one key axis along which professional service consumption will evolve. The challenge for service consumers is to develop frameworks that facilitate robust dialogue and exchange of information and emotional support to complement their rising authority. The parallel challenge is for the established medical profession to recognise the consequences of this evolving dialogue and develop approaches to service delivery that effectively engage with consumers on the basis of this increasing authority.