PACIS 2019 Proceedings


Many studies on online health communities (OHCs) have focused on patients’ well-being. The capabilities of OHCs to effect other psychosocial states like empowerment have been under-explored. Additionally, the study of empowerment of other healthcare stakeholders, specifically informal carers, has not attracted much study. This is despite evidence that carers use OHCs as an information and self-care resource in dealing with the stress and strain of caregiving. It is not clear how moderator support may influence carer empowerment. We propose a conceptual model to explore how moderated OHCs may influence empowerment of carers. In order to assess the model and support its robustness, this paper uses expert interviews of academics and industry professionals, with the view to focusing the research as well as operationalise the model. Results suggest a favourable acceptance of the model by experts, and thematic analysis of their conversations generated an additional construct.