The purpose of this research paper is to explore the determinants of patients' service choices between telephone consultation and text consultation in online health communities (OHCs).
This study utilized an empirical model based on the elaboration likelihood model and examined the effect of information, regarding service quality (the central route) and service price (the peripheral route), using online health consultation data from one of the largest OHCs in China.
The logistic regression results indicated that both physician- and patient-generated information can influence the patients' service choices; service price signals will lead patients to cheaper options. However, individual motivations, disease risk and consulting experience change a patients' information processing regarding central and peripheral cues.
Previous researchers have investigated the mechanism of patient behavior in OHCs; however, the researchers have not focused on the patients' choices regarding the multiple health services provided in OHCs. The findings of this study have theoretical and practical implications for future researchers, OHC designers and physicians.
This research is supported by the National Social Science Foundation of China under Grant No. 21BGL245.
Chen, Y., Liu, M., Chen, M., Wang, L., Sun, L. and Xuan, G. (2023), "Determinants of patients' service choice in online health communities: an elaboration likelihood model perspective", Library Hi Tech, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/LHT-12-2022-0585
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