Using a patient decision aid about insulin treatment in type 2 diabetes clinics

An activity analysis


  • Ayeshah Syed Universiti Malaya



insulin, type 2 diabetes, patient decision aid, doctor-patient consultations, Activity Analysis


The Candlin Researcher Award
The low uptake of insulin leaves many Malaysians with type 2 diabetes at risk of developing complications. To improve decision making about insulin treatment, a patient decision aid (PDA) was developed for use with patients. However, although it is generally accepted that PDAs can support informed and shared decision making, there is limited discursive data showing how they are used in doctor–patient consultations. This paper reports on activity analysis of clinic consultations in which a PDA about insulin treatment was used. Eleven consultations with diverse participants conducted in three healthcare settings in Malaysia were systematically mapped to identify structural, interactional and thematic patterns. Two main phases of Assessment and Treatment were identified, with doctors generally participating more than patients. Mapping of the Treatment phase showed that structural patterns depended on two main factors: whether patients had read the PDA and whether they responded negatively or positively towards insulin. While mapping is only a preliminary stage of activity analysis, the findings offer insights into structural, interactional and thematic patterns in PDA use at the level of the whole consultation. They also point towards key areas for closer analysis of discursive practices.

Author Biography

Ayeshah Syed, Universiti Malaya

Ayeshah Syed received her PhD in discourse studies from Universiti Malaya in October 2019. She has been working in language and skills development for over 20 years, in various areas such as journalism, communication skills training and content localisation. She is a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Languages and Linguistics, Universiti Malaya. Her research interests include healthcare communication and language teaching.


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How to Cite

Syed, A. (2021). Using a patient decision aid about insulin treatment in type 2 diabetes clinics: An activity analysis. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, 16(1), 76–108.



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