The Impact of a New App Channel on Physicians’ Performance: Evidence From Online Healthcare Natural Experiment

AbstractBesides the web browser, the introduction of the mobile app in online healthcare systems has resulted in an additional touchpoint for users. Drawing on the Media Richness theory, we aim to reveal the effect of the mobile app channel on physicians’ performance in the online health communities (OHCs). We provide direct empirical evidence on a large-scale dataset from one of the largest Chinese OHCs, Haodf, and propose a natural experiment to show the casual effect. Our results demonstrate that the introduction of the app channel to OHCs for patients has a positive impact on physicians’ responses and rating performance on the online platforms, especially for male physicians from high-ranking hospitals.

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