The role of Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) media in patient empowerment: a "uses and gratifications" perspective

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Ravi Thambusamy (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Prashant Palvia

Abstract: Empowerment has been studied extensively in the field of psychology for more than three decades. Extant research in the area of empowerment is often at the employee level in an employee-employer relationship or at the team level in an organizational setting. However, research that examines the role of Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) media in consumer empowerment in the healthcare context has been neglected in the Information Systems (IS) literature. This dissertation uses three studies to address this gap in IS literature. In Study 1, an interpretive approach using a qualitative methodology was used to understand patients' motivations and barriers for health information seeking and/or sharing online. Results from the interviews showed that there are seven major motivations and barriers dimensions namely media-enabled health information seeking, health output quality produced by media, media-enabled health-related content management and communication, media-enabled convenience, media-enabled health information sharing, and media-enabled health problem solving and decision-making. In Study 2, a positivist approach using a survey methodology was used to test a research model linking the motivations and barriers dimensions identified in Study 1 to CMC media use and patient empowerment. The Uses and Gratifications theory was used to categorize the seven motivations and barriers dimensions identified in Study 1 into the three gratifications, namely, content gratifications, process gratifications, and social gratifications. Results from a national survey of 230 patients showed that content gratifications and social gratifications are positively related to CMC media use for health information seeking and/or sharing online, and that CMC media use for health information seeking and/or sharing online is positively related to patient empowerment. In Study 3, a survey methodology was used to examine the consequences of CMC media-enabled patient empowerment. Survey results showed that patient empowerment positively impacts quality of care, patient coping with illness, and patient confidence in treatment, and that quality of care mediates the relationship between patient empowerment and patient satisfaction. Together, the three studies help understand the role CMC media play in empowering healthcare consumers thereby addressing calls from IS researchers to focus on the consumer-perspective on the use of health information technologies (HIT).

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2014
CMC Media Use, Consequences, Motivations and Barriers, Patient Empowerment, Self-Determination Theory, Uses and Gratifications Theory
Patient education
Patient participation
Health $x Information services
Communication in medicine
Medical care $x Technological innovations

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