The health-care system of Western industrial nations is currently undergoing change. This creates a high potential for conflict: the increase in costs calls for privatisations and reductions in the provision of services and requires rationalisation and increased efficiency. On the other hand is the call for the realisation of the ideal of the informed, competent and optimally cared for patient. As antithetical as these goals are in many ways, they both underline the importance of the need for making communication in the health sector more professional: Optimised communication between participants can reduce costs and contribute to better care. Service in health-care is based on linguistic and communicative processes. The domain of knowledge and its communicative characteristics are in need of better understanding and more effective and satisfactory communication. The project aims to make clear what contributions linguistics can make with regard to the current questions and problems in the domain of health-care. The guideline here is the optimisation of intelligibility and of the education of the patient. This needs to be realised in various respects:
- in the health education by the media
- in product information
- in medical consultations
- in the planning of diagnostic and therapeutic measures with the patient
- in consultations, psychological support as well as all forms of communicatively aided therapy and intervention
The named activities are to be dealt with in oral as well as written genres.
Aims for the domain of knowledge Medicine and Health-Care are:
- Analysis of the (spoken and written) communicative genre in the fields of medicine and healthcare
- Analysis of the current concepts regarding (further) training in communication in the fields of medicine and healthcare
- Recording of the value placed on communication in the fields of medicine and healthcare
- Determination of linguistic areas of expertise for the validation and amelioration of communicative processes in the fields of medicine and healthcare
- Development of concepts for validation and amelioration of communicative processes in the fields of medicine and healthcare
- Implementation of the concepts for validation and amelioration of communicative processes in the fields of medicine and healthcare into concrete proposals for consultations and training
- Analysis and development of concepts for validation and amelioration of information on health on the WWW
The above-mentioned tasks should always be executed in cooperation with professionals of the field – especially with regard to lecturers in the field of communication training.