Understanding the Interaction of Patient Members of the Online Health Community and Its Impact on the Patient-Physician Relationship

Loick Menvielle, William Menvielle, Anne-Françoise Audrain-Pontevia


This research investigates the emerging field of digitalized health and particularly of the virtual healthcare communities. The goal is this research is to study the causal relationships between credibility and attitude towards virtual health communities as well as trust and attitude towards the physician. An online questionnaire was developed and disseminated to patients and users of med­ical virtual communities. Confirmatory analyses for structural equations were conducted via SPSS and AMOS. Results show that interpersonal trust coming from virtual health communities has a positive relation with credibility and attitude regarding virtual communities. Interpersonal trust has, also, a positive relation with the attitude regarding the doctor.  The credibility of the virtual health communities exhibits a positive relation with attitude towards the platform. However, the relation is negative between credibility and attitude regarding the doctor. Finally, the attitude regarding the doctor exhibits a positive relation with trust in the doctor. This study is the first to measure the relationship between credibility, trust and attitude. Moreover, it facilitates better consideration of the role of users of virtual communities of health and doctors, thereby improving the attitude of patients toward doctors.


E-health, Virtual health community, Credibility, Trust, Patient-Physician relationship.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.9876/sim.v23i2.795

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