The Impact Of Social Influence, Information Quality And Online Forum Features On The Credibility Of Doctors And Hospitals For Medical Tourism Services

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Charlie Chen Ph.D, Professor (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:

Abstract: Medical tourism, especially cosmetic surgery to South Korea, is increasingly popular amongst Thai youths. Like many other youths around the world, they can obtain the relevant information from a variety of sources, including web discussion forums. These are the most frequently used information sources that people use to explore the feasibility of having cosmetic surgery overseas. However, it is not empirically clear how much influence these forums have on youth, or what impact social influence, the quality of information and the forum’s features (e.g., doctor information, before/after surgery pictures, clinic/hospital information, surgery information and chat rooms) have on the credibility of doctors and hospitals. This study conducted a number of field experiments and collected data from 233 discussion threads on top 3 online discussion forums that were ranked by 207 business school students. The results show that the reliability of web information is critical in enhancing the credibility of both doctors and hospitals. In addition, the credibility of doctors depends on the forum that is used to find information about surgery, as well as social influence. The credibility of hospitals, on the other hand, is not influenced by the social influence of a consumer’s peers. Instead, their credibility is increased by the forum’s use of before/after surgery pictures, clinical information and information about doctors. Future research may investigate further how different forum features and the web media can have an impact on the credibility of doctors and hospitals.

Additional Information

Chen, C. C., Nakayama, M., & Ractham, P. (2015). The Impact of Social Influence, Information Quality and Online Forum Features on the Credibility of Doctors and Hospitals for Medical Tourism Services. International Journal of Healthcare Information Systems and Informatics (IJHISI), 10(4), 22-37. doi:10.4018/IJHISI.2015100102. Publisher version of record available at: and-online-forum-features-on-the-credibility-of-doctors-and-hospitals-for-medical-tourism-services/149245
Language: English
Date: 2015
Medical Tourism, Online Decision-Making, Online Information Search, Self-Perception Theory, Trust in Online Information, Least Likelihood Model (ELM)

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