This paper aims to explore how hospitable telemedicine services empowered patients during the COVID-19. Expanding from the technology aspect, this research integrated the philosophy of hospitality organizational culture by including factors related to human-human interaction as significant predictors for patients’ sense of empowerment (perceived competence and control) in coping with their emotional stress (anxiety and isolation).
Survey data were obtained from 409 general consumers who have used video-based virtual consultation since February 2020. Stepwise multiple regression and simple linear regression analyses were used for hypotheses testing.
The results reveal that the doctors’ reliability, responsiveness and empathy significantly predict patients’ perceived competence and control. Perceived usefulness and convenience of telemedicine technology enhance patients’ perceived competence and control. Patients’ sense of empowerment significantly reduces their anxiety and sense of isolation.
To fully understand the role of hospitality in people’s telemedicine experiences, future studies are encouraged to not only examine the patients-clinicians interactions but also explore the patients-support staff interactions.
Health care providers’ “bed-side” manners empower patients in managing their emotional stress. Health care providers should be trained for their empathetic ability and communication skills. Strategies such as collaborating with hospitality schools and business schools can be implemented to help build medical student’s patient-centric attitudes and skills.
This paper provided empirical evidence for the value of hospitality in health care and offered useful suggestions for health care providers, especially by empowering vulnerable people during catastrophic events such as COVID-19.
Cheng, Y., Wei, W., Zhong, Y. and Zhang, L. (2021), "The empowering role of hospitable telemedicine experience in reducing isolation and anxiety: evidence from the COVID-19 pandemic", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 33 No. 3, pp. 851-872. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-07-2020-0786
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