With the worldwide explosion of social media, the use of online communities in the healthcare landscape has grown dramatically in recent years. Although healthcare communities already existed in the era before the WorldWideWeb, the primary medium for communities today is the Internet. Online healthcare communities can be seen as social support groups, whereby patients with similar interests gather virtually to collectively conduct activities related to healthcare and education. The recent proliferation of online health communities has directed researches to investigate the actual impact of such communities on patients. In this thesis we are interested in studying how online communities could influence consumers’ healthcare behaviors. Specifically in this study, we seek to study the extent to which patients are actually willing to follow the health advice they receive online and whether this information can make significant health behavior changes in individuals. Through conducting a survey at two leading healthcare social networks, we are empirically testing a model to understand ‘how different features of online health communities can increase its members’ acceptance and adherence to health management advice they receive online.’ This thesis provides several theoretical and practical implications in the areas of online communities, healthcare IS and selfregulatory healthcare behaviors.

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