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Title: Improving the effectiveness of online healthcare platforms : an empirical study with multi-period patient-doctor consultation data
Authors: Yang, YF
Zhang, XF
Lee, PKC 
Issue Date: 2019
Source: International journal of production economics, 2019, v. 207, p. 70-80
Abstract: In the "internet plus" era, online healthcare platforms provide an effective way of easing the demand for hospitals, and their popularity among patients has been increasing sharply in recent years. Such platforms' effectiveness depends on whether there are adequate interactions between patients and doctors through multiple online consultations. Nonetheless, compared with face-to-face consultations, online patients' trust to the doctors and switching costs are often lower. Thus, many of them (in particular, those with chronic diseases) may terminate their cases after the very first consultation, jeopardizing the effectiveness of the online platforms. We adopt a trust development perspective to examine how doctors' online consultation behaviours can reduce patients' switching of doctors and how they enhance patient satisfaction, thereby offering insights to make such healthcare platforms more efficient and effective. By analyzing 77,248 patients' behaviours on an online healthcare platform covering the period 2014-2015, we find that the response time, the depth of interaction, and service content during the first consultation influence the patients' subsequent consultation behaviours significantly. Also, the effects of doctor response time, service content, and depth of interaction on patient satisfaction are different in different periods. Our findings offer managerial insights on managing patients' continuous consultation behaviours and enhancing their satisfaction by considering the time scope and service type. Also, they offer important insights into how online medical care can be delivered more effectively, so relieving the demand for traditional healthcare system capacity.
Keywords: Service operations
Multi-period data
Online healthcare
Doctor behaviour
Patient satisfaction
Publisher: Elsevier
Journal: International journal of production economics 
ISSN: 0925-5273
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpe.2018.11.009
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