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Video consultations are a rapidly growing service model, particularly in secondary care. Studies, mainly using trials and post-hoc surveys, have routinely documented that they can be a safe and effective means to deliver care at a distance. While video offers new opportunities to provide health services, it also constrains how patients and clinicians can interact, raising questions about feasibility, quality, and safety—questions that cannot be adequately addressed with prevailing methods and approaches. To support successful and appropriate implementation, use and spread of video consultations, we need to investigate how video changes the interaction. In this article, we use two worked examples to demonstrate how Linguistic Ethnography, a methodological approach combining ethnographic with linguistic analysis, enables a detailed understanding of how communication in video consultations works, providing an evidence base to support patients and clinicians with using this service model.

Original publication




Journal article


Qualitative Health Research


SAGE Publications

Publication Date



technology, qualitative, doctor-patient, video-mediated interaction, linguistic ethnography, video consultations, research methods, linguistics