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.
Prompt 5 (Blakeslee p. 113): Observing a setting
I am planning to use a general physicians’ waiting room as a site for my research. Other potential sites would include different types of waiting rooms, but I am limited to these lobby areas by the scope of my research. The general physician’s office, in particular, is advantageous because I am interested in studying people’s constructions of themselves as patients and examining my observations in relation to gender. The GP’s office, then, is least likely to inflict inherent bias depending on the special treatment patients might be seeking in other settings. This site does pose a challenge in regard to privacy concerns, which I discussed in a non-prompted post below.
I do not feel comfortable doing an observation of a waiting room without having first considered the privacy implications with the help of the IRB committee. I can, however, work based on my observations picked up as a patient myself. Based on the continuing flow of patients and the conspicuousness of someone writing in a waiting room, I suspect that I will use a traditional observation notebook for my research. A tape-recorded log is out of the question because of Illinois laws involving audio tapes; in-the-middle and after-the-fact notes are unnecessary. The two-notebook approach seems burdensome and conspicuous in this setting. Either a traditional or dialogic notebook might work; I favor the traditional because I believe it will help me to record as objectively as possible and reserve analysis for later.
Prompt 6 (Blakeslee p. 118): Looking at how others analyze artifacts
This response refers to:
Lawrence, D. “Cashing in on check-in: As hospitals face steeper challenges in collecting fees for service, bringin the revenue cycle to the kiosk may be an answer.” Healthcare informatics 27.1 (2010): 18, 20.
This prompt was difficult for me to respond to because I have so far been unable to find work in the genre I’ll be writing in on check-in kiosks. The article referenced above reads more like a newspaper or magazine report. Therefore, the texts used as artifacts in this article are primarily interviews with experts. It is also obvious that Lawrence has developed some familiarity with the technologies he discusses–kiosks and tablets–themselves. Lawrence relied on these sources because they were primary sources that did not require significant investments of his time, which is appropriate to the genre in which he is writing. Again adhering to genre, he largely refrained from personally analyzing them, but used expert testimony to frame these technologies in terms of revenue and legal precedent on billing patients for services. His discoveries from this analysis are as follows (verbatim from the article’s conclusion):
- Kiosks are expected to become more interactive in terms of the revenue cycle.
- Consent forms and way-finding are the more traditional uses of kiosks.
- The emergency room is an ideal place to use kiosk or tablet technology because of the long waits.
- Using tablets before a full kiosk implementation is a sound strategy.
No Prompt (extra entry): Update to research question and other details
The future audience for my proposal is scholars in my field. More specifically, I’ll be trying to reach scholars in technical communication and gender studies, rhetoric and composition. (While I envision someday producing products with a “general public” audience, I feel the need to establish myself in this way first.) My research question, at this moment, is: Does gender/sex affect the ways that people utilize automated check-in technologies in physicians’ offices? My method for answering this question, at least in its first iteration, is observation. I hope to sit in a lobby area and watch as people check in for appointments.
Prompt 2 (Blakeslee p. 105): Researching in Multiple Ways
Cairns, Kate, Johnston, Josee, and Baumann, Shyon. “Caring About Food: Doing Gender in the Foodie Kitchen.” Gender & Society 24.5 (2010): 591-615 . Print.
Cairns, Johnston, and Baumann conducted interviews with 30 subjects to examine how gender is constructed and perceived in foodie culture; they theorize their results in three categories: pleasure, care work, and knowledge/expertise. I would argue that they did use triangulation–although they do not explicitly address it–because they also surveyed literature in the field, including online literature such as the blogs of some of their participants. They also produced tables, which are the results of survey-style questions, that show demographic information for each of their 30 participants. This use of triangulation contributed a sense of accuracy. Rather than collecting one-time only written statements and analyzing what they happened to get, these researchers took the time to get to know their participants and understand those participants’ perceptions of foodie culture. One part of this article I found lacking was the dearth of attention to gender performance as an indicator of views on foodie culture. The article essentially examines the role of sex–that is, how women and men perceive and are perceived differently in this culture. However, several of the participants are listed as “partnered” rather than “married,” and I wonder how this distinction–presumably one of attention to gender roles–might have affected results.
No Prompt (extra entry): On problems presented by my setting
I am growing increasingly excited about the prospect of studying automated check-in systems at doctor’s offices. However, this subject also presents some problems that I need to work through because of the setting. I initially thought that working in a waiting room might reduce privacy concerns. However, I’m now thinking it actually heightens the problem. The waiting room is not really a public space. (In fact, the legal status of a waiting room would depend on the specific clinic.) Therefore, the increased freedom I was initially thinking would come from that sense of “public” is, I now believe, false. In addition, choosing the waiting room as a setting for observation severely decreases subjects’ abilities to opt out of my research, and it presents problems in terms of informing people that they are subjects in a research study. Informing them before they use the system would skew my results, and informing them afterword may not be possible. This would also mean I was approaching people in a vulnerable state–they’re sick, rushed, already handling something new … in other words, I see these people as a vulnerable population.
All things considered, I believe observation may not be the way to go with such a study. I’m now considering surveys or interviews as an alternative method, which presents the problem of picking a population to study.
I’ll keep thinking about it.