Document Type : Original Article


University of Southern Queensland, Australia


In a “follow-up visit”, a patient seeks medical attention for an existing health problem. Using data from the Vietnamese public hospital system, we present a more nuanced analysis of follow-ups in health communication than the one currently available. To be specific, we discriminate between “same follow-ups”, in which the doctor is the same one as in the last visit, and “different follow-ups”, in which the doctor has not treated the patient for their problem before. We then extend existing research on “inappropriate follow-ups”, in which the problem solicitation is more suitable for another type of visit, by teasing out additional typological distinctions within this category of follow-up. We go on to show that same and different follow-ups contrast with each other in terms of the format used for the problem solicitation. The broader implication of our findings is that the structure of a medical visit is not invariant, but is shaped by the cultural context in which it occurs.