Graduate Research and Discovery Symposium (GRADS)

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The percentage of patients relying on information provided by other patients in form of online reviews over the information from federal agencies as healthcare reports is expected to increase. To increase the use of these healthcare reports, which contains data from a more representative sample, several researchers have suggested incorporating online reviews into these physician comparison websites. Therefore, it’s important to understand the factors in these online reviews that affect the healthcare consumers decisions. To do so, we recruited 310 participants through Qualtrics Research Suite to participate in a 3*2*2*2 within-subjects study. Specifically, we used the dentistry domain to test the effect of the nature of the review, the staff rating, the cleanliness rating and the bedside manner rating on patient's trust in the review, the decision to choose a dentist and confidence in the decision. The findings suggest that nature of the review, the bedside manner rating and the cleanliness rating significantly influence a healthcare consumer’s decision and trust in the information. Since the staff rating does not provide data about the doctor as it focuses on the staff members, it was seen regarded as the least important decision aid. When the review and the ratings were consistent (both high or both low), the participants reported a higher level of trust and confidence in their decision than when this information was inconsistent (e.g., a positive review with low ratings).