Exploring electronic Word-of-Mouth (eWOM) for healthcare services in Singapore

Lee, Lay Lay (2020) Exploring electronic Word-of-Mouth (eWOM) for healthcare services in Singapore. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)]

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Healthcare services have transformed over the years. Owing to advancements in the internet and healthcare technology, patients have become more well-informed and are able to take a more proactive approach in making informed personal healthcare decisions through electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM). The role of a physician has evolved gradually from being seen as the holder of a “single source of truth” to a facilitator in helping patients to sift through a myriad of sources of medical information. eWOM allows the exchange of information among healthcare providers, patients, and their families in a broader and more comprehensive way. There is very limited empirical research on the usage of eWOM in healthcare services. Hence, the purpose of this research is to explore eWOM in healthcare services. Singapore has been chosen as the focus of our study, as the high speed network available enables individuals to get connected wherever they go. From a theoretical aspect, this study integrates the principle of value co-creation with a framework on eWOM in healthcare services consisting of three stages: Creation, Spread, and Impact. Criteria attributed to eWOM will be examined at the Creation stage. At the Spread stage, the motives of patients using eWOM will be studied. Lastly, at the Impact stage, how eWOM affects patients’ healthcare decisions and the impact of eWOM on healthcare services will be carefully examined.

An exploratory design is employed using qualitative methods to further our understanding of eWOM among patients, their motivation to participate in eWOM, and how eWOM can improve service engagement between healthcare providers and patients. Six healthcare providers and eight patients were recruited for semi-structured interviews to obtain rich insights into their experiences and perceptions about eWOM in healthcare services.

This study shows that both healthcare providers and patients attest to the importance of eWOM. Perceived clinical outcome is the main factor patients evaluate through eWOM. They mainly use eWOM to seek information, and use the same channel to share their experiences, especially their negative experiences. Patients also use eWOM as a confirmation tool in their healthcare decisions. Healthcare providers can leverage on eWOM to harness patient feedback to improve their service offerings. This study highlights the importance of value co-creation between healthcare providers and patients through eWOM and the increasing need for healthcare providers to recognise the important notion that patients are always co-producers in the enhancement of their healthcare services.

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Keywords: healthcare services, healthcare technology, electronic Word-of-Mouth (eWOM), Singapore
Depositing User: Lee, Lay
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2020 08:16
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2020 08:30
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/60656

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