The adoption of online follow-up services by physicians provides their offline patients with an important channel for medical follow-ups. Using detailed service data from a Chinese online healthcare community (OHC), the present study scrutinizes the rarely studied effect of adopting online follow-up services on offline and online physician demand in the context of chronic disease. The results demonstrate that adopting online follow-up services leads to higher offline physician demand. Interestingly, in contrast to the channel substitution effect documented in the literature, we find that providing online follow-up services also increases online physician demand. Furthermore, the results of mechanism tests reveal that online follow-up services affect online demand by boosting physicians’ online exposure and increasing the availability of information on their online service characteristics to patients. Our findings offer strategic guidance for physicians, design implications for OHCs, and insights for healthcare policymakers.


Paper Number 1405; Track Healthcare; Complete Paper



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