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Title: How Online Reviews and Services Affect Physician’s Outpatient Care Demands: Evidence from Two Online Healthcare Communities (Preprint)
Authors: Lu, W
Wu, H
Issue Date: 9-Sep-2019
Publisher: JMIR Publications Inc.
Citation: Lu W, Wu H,How Online Reviews and Services Affect Physician Outpatient Visits: Content Analysis of Evidence From Two Online Health Care Communities JMIR Med Inform 2019;7(4):e16185; DOI: 10.2196/16185
Abstract: Background: Online healthcare communities are changing the ways of physician-patient communication and how patients choose outpatient care physicians. Although a majority of empirical work has examined the role of online reviews in consumer decisions. However, a) less evidence has been found in healthcare, and b) endogeneity of online reviews has not been fully considered. Moreover, the important factor-physician online service has been neglected in patient decisions. Objective: In this paper, we try to address the endogeneity of online reviews and examine the impact of online reviews and services on outpatient care demands based on theories of reviews and channel effects. Methods: We use a “difference-in-difference” approach to account for the physician- and website-specific effects by collecting 474 physician information from two online healthcare communities. Results: We find that the number of reviews works more effective in influencing patient decisions compared with the overall review rating. An improvement in reviews leads to a relative increase in physician outpatient care demands on that website (β=0.588, p<0.001, β=-1.661, p<0.001). There are channel effects in healthcare: online services complement offline service (outpatient care appointment service) (written consultation: β=0.172, p<0.05, telephone consultation: β=0.155, p<0.001). Results further indicate that online services moderate the relationships between online reviews and physician outpatient service demands (written consultation: β=0.730, p<0.05, telephone consultation: β=0.296, p<0.01). Conclusions: This study investigates the effect of reviews and channel effects in healthcare by conducting a “difference-in-difference” approach on two online healthcare communities. Our findings provide a basic research on online healthcare communities.
ISSN: 2291-9694
Appears in Collections:Dept of Design Research Papers

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