Health dialogue: a concept analysis
Keywords:Health communication, Health dialogue, Health message, Concept analysis, Walker and Avant approach, Participatory communication, Participatory paradigm, Transactional communication
Health dialogue encompasses strategies to influence decisions to improve health, but it is often still poorly understood. An analysis assists in creating a definition with a sound theoretical base, promoting consistency in using the concept, and understanding the underlying defining characteristics. The Walker and Avant approach was used to guide this concept analysis. The characteristics of health dialogue include an equal, symbiotic health relationship between the patient and the healthcare provider, and reciprocal health communication towards reaching an identified health goal via a health message. Antecedents include both patient and healthcare provider presenting with a positive attitude towards health dialogue, displaying sensitivity towards cultural, contextual and societal factors, and receiving training on health matters and communication skills. The consequence is an improved health outcome. Empirical referents comprise sharing an understanding of responsibility/decision-making, establishing a health plan, applying context-sensitive health communication strategies, and declaring mutual benefits received from the health relationship. This concept analysis serves to clarify the concept within theory development and research. The defined characteristics further afford healthcare providers ways to measure the concept in their work environment and encourage health communication.