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How does online doctor–patient interaction affect online consultation and offline medical treatment?

Wen Xing (Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)
Ping Yu Hsu (Department of Business Administration, National Central University, Taoyuan, Taiwan)
Yu-Wei Chang (National Taichung University of Science and Technology, Taichung, Taiwan)
Wen-Lung Shiau (Department of Business Administration, Zhejiang University of Technology, Hangzhou, China)

Industrial Management & Data Systems

ISSN: 0263-5577

Article publication date: 10 January 2020

Issue publication date: 10 January 2020



The purpose of this paper is to investigate factors that influence the patients’ intentions to visit doctors face-to-face for consultations from the perspective of online doctor–patient interaction. Justice theory, SERVQUAL and the halo effect are integrated to develop a research model based on the performance-evaluation-outcome framework. The authors hypothesize that perceived justice and service quality are the significant factors in reflecting the performance of online doctor–patient interaction, which influences patient satisfaction evaluation and online and offline behavioral intentions.


The study conducted an online survey to collect data. Patients on a healthcare consulting website were invited to participate in the survey. The research model and hypotheses were tested with 254 collected data from patients and analyzed using the partial least squares method.


The results show that perceived justice and service quality have a positive effect on patient satisfaction, and satisfaction and the intention of online consultation have a positive effect on the intention of face-to-face consultation.

Practical implications

This study offers suggestions on how doctors interact with patients and build their brand image. The findings also offer effective insights into improving doctors’ online services to retain patients and even encourage patients to go to clinics.


Online health consultation is one of the most popular online health services and is growing quickly. After patients consult online doctors, they are able to visit their doctors in person for further diagnosis and treatment if they have the need. This study investigates how patients’ online interactive experience influences their offline behavioral intentions, which are different from most of the past literature on eHealth.



Xing, W., Hsu, P.Y., Chang, Y.-W. and Shiau, W.-L. (2020), "How does online doctor–patient interaction affect online consultation and offline medical treatment?", Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 120 No. 1, pp. 196-214.



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