What Doctors Wish They Knew: Treatment Compliance in an Online Health Community for Chronic Patients

AbstractTreatment compliance for patients with chronic health problems is important for the management of their illness due to the long-term nature of their conditions. In this study, we examine how evaluations of different types of treatments provided by members of an online health community are associated with treatment evaluations and compliance. We use self-reported data on evaluation and compliance of over 270 different treatments from over 20,000 patients in a prominent online health community. We find that other community members’ treatment evaluation valence is positively associated with patient treatment evaluation and treatment compliance. Similarly, other community members’ treatment compliance is positively associated with patient treatment compliance. We also find these relations are moderated by community size and ratings variance. We discuss the theoretical implications of these results for the online health communities’ literature, as well as the practical implications for patients, healthcare providers, and policy makers.


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