How does physicians' educational knowledge-sharing influence patients' engagement? An empirical examination in online health communities

Xiumei Ma, Pengfei Zhang, Fanbo Meng, Kee Hung Lai

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Online health communities (OHCs) are popular channels increasingly used by patients for acquiring professional medical knowledge to manage their own health. In OHCs, physicians provide not only consultation services but also educational medical knowledge to improve patient education. So far, it remains unknown regarding how the educational medical knowledge sharing influence engagement of patients in OHCs. Drawing on the signaling theory, we examined the effects of paid vs. free knowledge-sharing of physicians on patients' engagement behaviors (i.e., patient visit and patient consultation). Data collected from one of the largest OHCs in China show that both paid and free knowledge-sharing are favorable for patients' engagement. Particularly, these two types of knowledge-sharing vary in their impacts. Moreover, physicians' registration duration in OHCs has a positive moderating effect on the relationship between physician's knowledge-sharing and patient engagement. Managers seeking to engage patients at OHCs are advised to share educational medical knowledge to entice them and the patient engagement is more salient for the knowledge shared by physicians active at the platforms for longer time history.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1036332
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
Volume10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2022

Keywords

  • online health communities
  • patients' engagement
  • physicians' educational knowledge-sharing
  • registration duration
  • signaling theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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