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Value‐driven consumer e‐health information search behavior

Lynn Goetzinger (Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA)
Jungkun Park (Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA)
Yun Jung Lee (Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA)
Rick Widdows (Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA)

International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing

ISSN: 1750-6123

Article publication date: 3 July 2007




The search for online health‐related information has become increasingly popular. This study examines online health information quality (relevance and clarity) and the perceived value of online health information search (social, utilitarian and epistemic) and how they relate to consumers' satisfaction with their online health information search experience. The resulting intention to repeat a health information search over the internet is also included in a conceptual model to illustrate what drives the process.


Structural equation modeling was utilized to simultaneously assess the proposed relationships among the constructs. Data from 263 online respondents were used to test the measurement and structural model.


Results show that information relevance is strongly related to the utilitarian value consumers receive from information seeking, whereas information clarity is strongly related to epistemic value. Moreover, it is the utilitarian value of the information search that drives satisfaction with and intention to repeat online health information search.

Research limitations/implications

Suggestions for web site designers in the healthcare industry and health care professionals are addressed. Web site designers should stress practical and functional features of web sites, while health care professionals should direct patients toward web sites that will provide users with the most utilitarian value. Although the study is limited by its online data collection, results provide an initial attempt to develop a conceptual model that explains what may be happening within the world of online health information search behavior. Future research should address the exclusion of potentially important variables including internet skill level and specific types of searches.


This study is unique in that it provides web site designers and health care professionals with clear insight into specific dimensions of online health information and value.



Goetzinger, L., Park, J., Jung Lee, Y. and Widdows, R. (2007), "Value‐driven consumer e‐health information search behavior", International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing, Vol. 1 No. 2, pp. 128-142.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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