Communication & Medicine, Vol 7, No 2 (2010)

Collaborative Work and Medical Talk: Opportunities for Learning Through Knowledge Sharing

Line Lundvoll Nilsen, Sten R. Ludvigsen
Issued Date: 1 Apr 2011


Teleconsultations provide new opportunities for learning in medical settings. This study explores the conditions under which learning can take place. The empirical context is 47 real-time videoconferences carried out to examine collaborative work and the medical talk involved. Sixteen of the observations were consultations wherein general practitioners (GPs) and specialists shared knowledge with the purpose of solving a medical problem related to a patient under treatment. Eight interviews were done face-to-face with a focus on the content in talk, with the purpose of examining our findings from the observations. The learning opportunities could be seen as what medical practitioners achieve through interaction and working with patients over periods of time.

The analysis of medical talk in consultations shows that collaborative work among GPs and specialists creates a shared understanding of the patient’s clinical history and treatment regiments. As knowledge is demanded and attributed, consultations create a work tool that expands the medical work and talk. Collaborative work in and between levels of health care service expands knowledge, creates opportunities for learning in everyday settings, and improves the quality of knowledge in the health care system.

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DOI: 10.1558/cam.v7i2.143


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