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Insights Into Medical Communication


Edited By Maurizio Gotti, Stefania Maria Maci and Michele Sala

This book analyses the subject of medical communication from a range of innovative perspectives, covering a broad spectrum of approaches and procedures that are particularly significant in this field.
In this volume, medical communication is analyzed from various viewpoints: not only from a merely linguistic angle, with a focus on the description of the genres used in medical and healthcare contexts, but also from a social and cultural standpoint, with an emphasis both on the doctor-patient relationship and on the social relevance of the other types of communicative links existing between the many communities involved in this type of interaction.
The study of some of the main fields typical of medical communication has highlighted a considerable variety of themes, data and research methods which are clearly representative of the eclectic interest in this specific domain and of the wide range of approaches developed for its investigation.
As the various chapters show, linguistic analysis proves to be highly applicable to textualizations involving multiple interactions and practices, and several kinds of participants, including different healthcare professionals, trainees and patients.
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Attempting the Easification of Patient Information Leaflets (PILs) in Brazil


Writing simply and directly is hard work, but a learned profession ought not to shrink from the challenge (Garner 2009: 295)

1.  Introduction

One of the key roles of governmental regulatory agencies on public health services is to promote health literacy by assuring high quality and readable patient information on medicines, amongst other duties. According to the British Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (HMRA), “good information helps patients to participate fully in concordant decision-making about medicines prescribed for or recommended to them by healthcare professionals” (HMRA 2012).1 In general, such information is provided by the pharmaceutical industry either on the label or via patient information leaflets (PILs) that accompany the medicine in compliance with regulatory and/or institutional guidelines.

The relevance of patient information leaflets (PILs) has been widely discussed in several disciplinary fields, mainly healthcare and linguistics (see Fage-Butler 2013; Kenny et al 1998). If, on both the pharmaceutical industry and doctor’s perspective, the adequate amount of “clinical content should be balanced, correct and unbiased” (Kenny et al 1998: 473), user-friendliness and good drafting practices may ← 137 | 138 → improve the patients’ self-awareness of their illnesses and treatments. Also, the concept of health literacy, which is concerned about “people’s ability to obtain, understand, communicate about, and act upon information in health-related settings and situations,” has proved quite useful with tools to make PILs clearer and more effective.2

In Brazil, the national health surveillance agency Agência Nacional de Vigil...

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