Why Do Patients Move from Online Health Platforms to Hospitals? The Perspectives of Fairness Theory and Brand Extension Theory

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Oct 6;16(19):3755. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16193755.


Online healthcare services are growing rapidly. Patients can receive health support through communication with online health professionals. However, previous research on eHealth has focused on patients' online behavioral intentions. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of online patient-doctor communication on offline behavioral intentions and to propose a conceptual model for eHealth. We integrate fairness theory and band extension theory to develop a research model. This is further tested by structural equation modeling (SEM), with 279 valid sets of data from patients on the online health platform. Using partial least squares analysis (PLS), the results show that perceived fairness is an important factor affecting online satisfaction and the willingness to ask online doctors, which in turn has a positive impact on the willingness to go to offline doctors. These findings shed light on the research model for eHealth and offer suggestions for improving patients' online satisfaction, as well as both online and offline behavioral intentions.

Keywords: O2O commerce; brand extension theory; eHealth; fairness theory; online healthcare services.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Communication*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intention
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Telemedicine / statistics & numerical data*