Why does interactional unfairness matter for patient-doctor relationship quality in online health consultation? The contingencies of professional seniority and disease severity

Xiaofei Zhang, Xitong Guo, Kee Hung Lai, Yi Wu

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review


The development of online health platforms in recent years has drawn significant research attention to understanding patient participation. However, the unfairness in patient–doctor relationship development has been largely overlooked in the online health context. This study proposes and tests a model that examines how interactional unfairness (encompassing interpersonal unfairness and informational unfairness) influences online patient–doctor relationship quality and the contingent conditions of a doctor’s professional seniority and disease severity on the unfairness–relationship quality link. Using objective data with 31,521 observations from a leading online health platform, this study employed rare-event logistic regression to test the model. The results show that interpersonal unfairness and informational unfairness have negative and positive effects on relationship quality, respectively, and a doctor’s professional seniority and disease severity moderate the strength of the unfairness-relationship quality link. This study advances the knowledge of interactional unfairness in online health, and provides practical insights for online healthcare stakeholders into how to manage unfairness and consider the contingent factors to improve patient–doctor relationship in online health consultations.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSmart Health - International Conference, ICSH 2018, Proceedings
EditorsHsinchun Chen, Daniel Zeng, Qing Fang, Jiang Wu
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9783030036485
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018
EventInternational Conference on Smart Health, ICSH 2018 - Wuhan, China
Duration: 1 Jul 20183 Jul 2018

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume10983 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


ConferenceInternational Conference on Smart Health, ICSH 2018


  • Disease severity
  • Interactional unfairness
  • Online health consultation
  • Professional seniority
  • Relationship quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)

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