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J Med Internet Res. 2019 Jun 7;21(6):e13693. doi: 10.2196/13693.

Predictors of Patients' Intention to Interact With Doctors in Web-Based Health Communities in China: Cross-Sectional Study.

Author information

1
School of Medicine and Health Management, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China.
2
Department of Health Policy and Management, College of Public Health, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, United States.
3
School of Economics, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Nottingham Ningbo China, Ningbo, China.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Web-based health communities provide opportunities for doctors and patients to interact with each other and change the traditional communication mode between doctors and patients. However, little is known about the predictors of patients' intention to interact with doctors in Web-based health communities in China.

OBJECTIVE:

The purpose of this study was to investigate what are the predictors of patients' intention to interact with doctors in Web-based health communities in China.

METHODS:

On the basis of two-factor theory and service convenience theory, we propose that the attributes of Web-based health communities including ease of use and perceived synchronicity influence patients' intention to interact through convenience of Web-based health communities, whereas the attributes of physical health facilities such as inaccessibility and discontinuity affect patients' intention to interact through inconvenience of physical health facilities. We employed the survey method to validate our hypothesized relationships. Through developing the measurement instruments, we collected 334 valid answers from Web health community users and utilized partial least square to analyze the data.

RESULTS:

Ease of use (t311=2.924, P=.004) and perceived synchronicity (t311=2.353, P=.019) were found to influence convenience of Web-based health communities significantly, whereas inaccessibility (t311=3.189, P=.002) and discontinuity (t311=3.149, P=.002) were found to impact inconvenience of physical health facilities significantly. Meanwhile, both convenience of Web-based health communities (t311=2.353, P=.019) and inconvenience of physical health facilities (t311=2.787, P=.006) were found to affect patients' intention to interact with doctors in Web-based health communities significantly. Therefore, all the proposed hypotheses were supported.

CONCLUSIONS:

Through including factors from both Web-based health communities and physical health facilities, we can understand patients' intention to interact comprehensively. This study not only contributes to literature of doctor-patient interaction and Web-based health platforms but also provides implications to promote doctor-patient interaction online and offline.

KEYWORDS:

community network; medical informatics; patients; physicians; psychological theory; social theory; telemedicine

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