One of the SIS/DLIS Faculty Candidate Colloquium Series
Catherine Arnott Smith
“In Our Own
Words: What Consumers Can Teach Us
Thursday, January 6, 2005
Abstract: The "consumer vocabulary problem" has been called a fundamental issue in health information provision. This is the problem of mismatch between terms used by healthcare professionals and those used by the consumers who receive their services.
One guiding assumption in this research domain is that consumers have their own "language" susceptible to analysis. However, as Lewis et al. have cautioned: "To presume that [consumer language] contains a knowable, stable vocabulary and grammar similar in structure to that of the formal languages of health care imposes a professional structure on a very personal experience." Any study of consumer "language" will beg the question of what terms consumers actually use. Two significant challenges to consumer terminologists are the definition and the capture of terms that accurately reflect consumer reality.
In this presentation I will report on my findings in an exploratory study of consumer e-mails to the Cancer Information Service at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. I will place this study within my larger research agenda: to understand the impact of medical terminology upon consumer access to medical records.
|Attention SIS students: The faculty search committee invites you to come and meet SIS faculty candidate. The student information session is from 1:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 6, 2005 in 5th floor large commons room, IS Building.|