This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Investigation on Online Healthcare Social Platforms and Patient/Physician Performance through Data Analytics




Song, Jiahe

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Aviation and Supply Chain Management

Restriction Status


Restriction Type

Auburn University Users

Date Available



Essay 1: It is unclear whether online patient communities are effective for health goal striving activities. Based on social cognitive theory, we identified two online mechanisms – social support and self-regulation – to examine three facets of health goal striving performance (i.e., goal progress rate, verbal update, and updating recency). We collected a longitudinal dataset from a leading online patient community. After the fixed effect first order autoregressive analysis to the unequally-spaced panel data, we find that the two online mechanisms bring different effects to patients’ health goal performance through peer interaction. Our findings show that one category of social support (informational support) increases goal performance. Another type of social support (companionship) decelerates patients goal progress. We also find a “sophomore slump” phenomenon existing within the self-regulation cycle toward goal attainment. In addition, the findings reveal that health-related response to peers shortens updating recency, which indicates the liveliness of online goal activities. Essay 2: Health goal striving activities are a major part of the lives for those who are fighting chronic diseases. In this study, we are interested in understanding the effectiveness of social media-enabled online patient communities on the final point of health goal striving endeavor – health goal attainment. Applying social cognitive theory, we study the antecedents of health goal attainment from the respects of social support and self-reflection in online patient communities. We apply Survival Analysis to a data set of patients’ interactions and their health goal progress from a leading online patient community. Our findings show that emotional social support can increase patients’ chance to achieve their goals while informational social support does not appear to be effective. In addition, health-related self-reflection increases online patients’ likelihood of goal attainment, but leisure-oriented self-reflection negatively affects the possibility. Essay 3: E-health programs in low- and middle-income countries are proliferating at a substantial rate to offset limitations of medical resources among burgeoning populations. A variety of social media-enabled hospitalized communities initiated in China is a representative example of healthcare reform that is taking place world-wide. Grounded in the social exchange theory, we examine doctors’ adoption of such hospitalized communities in China and investigate the impact of doctors’ extra-business activities toward gaining respect and financial benefit. Doctor-level data was collected from a leading online hospitalized community. The empirical findings reveal a positive influence of the extra-business activities on both received respect and financial benefit. In addition, we also find a contributing mediation effect of the received respect (a socioemotional reward) on the nexus between the extra-business activities and the received financial reward for online doctors. This investigation provides important evidence for the research body of innovative e-health and for the literature related to socioemotional and economic wealth/rewards.