14: Blakeslee/Fleischer Prompt, Ch. 4

Prompt 8 (Blakeslee p. 125): Analyzing a document

Artifact: Article entitled “Hospital, doctors’ office kiosks increasingly used for collections” (found at http://www.fiercehealthfinance.com/story/hospital-doctors-office-kiosks-increasingly-used-colllections/2009-08-05)

Rhetorical analysis: This article is directed at health executives and financial managers and appears to be trying to convince these healthcare professionals that kiosks are a good idea not only because they let patients check into doctor’s offices on their own, but also because they can be used to facilitate faster payment to doctors’ offices. The article implicitly tells healthcare professionals that kiosks are the up-and-coming trend and that they should consider using them by listing the manufacturers who are now making kiosks.

Linguistic analysis: This article uses words with positive connotations to help readers associate kiosks–the technology that is being promoted–with a positive feeling. The article uses phrases like “smoother experience” and “fewer financial surprises” and “giving access” to indicate the benefit for the patients, “steady growth” to refer to the future for kiosks, and using metaphors like pushing forward to indicate that kiosks are representative of technological progress.

Thematic analysis: The basic theme of this piece, because it is directed at healthcare professionals, is increased revenue. In each paragraph, the author comes back to considerations of money as the anchor point for why kiosks should be implemented.

This brief analysis helped me see the benefits of thinking about all these lenses before embarking on a longer project. Although I am somewhat used to rhetorical analysis and am familiar with linguistic analysis, attention to thematic analysis could probably often help me step back and see the broader picture. In terms of my research, this article raises questions for me about the wisdom of always advocating whatever is new and seems easy. I’d like to learn more about how kiosks can benefit patients so that I can balance this against increased efficiency for physicians. In order to do this,  I will need further information about what patients perceive to be the benefits of such technology. I believe I can get this further information from the study I am currently planning.

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