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Information-seeking behavior of female doctor shoppers: results from an interview study

Shih-Chuan Chen (Department of Library and Information Science, Fu Jen Catholic University, New Taipei City, Taiwan)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 7 May 2021

Issue publication date: 18 May 2021

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore the information-seeking behavior of female patients engaged in doctor shopping. An investigation was conducted on the following aspects: the reasons for doctor-shopping behavior (DSB), patients’ information needs and sources, patients’ use of the obtained information and the degree of satisfaction with the information collected.

Design/methodology/approach

In-depth interviews were conducted in this study. In total, 30 female participants who lived or worked in the Taipei metropolitan area, Taiwan, were recruited.

Findings

Dissatisfaction with treatment, confirmation of illness conditions, inconvenient treatment locations and hours and dissatisfaction with doctor’s attitude were the main reasons for DSB. Family members, friends, the internet and mass media were sources of information for participants when they sought second and successive doctors. In most cases, the degree of satisfaction toward the obtained information increased after each visit to a doctor during the doctor-shopping journey. However, not all participants shared information with doctors. The participants suggested that detailed explanations provided by doctors and better communication with doctors may reduce the occurrence of doctor shopping.

Originality/value

The findings of this study help medical personnel better understand DSB. The findings revealed the significance of information to patients and indicated that the information collected during doctor shopping is beneficial for patients.

Keywords

Citation

Chen, S.-C. (2021), "Information-seeking behavior of female doctor shoppers: results from an interview study", The Electronic Library, Vol. 39 No. 1, pp. 208-223. https://doi.org/10.1108/EL-04-2020-0092

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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