Identifying Bands in the Knowledge Exchange Spectrum in an Online Health Infomediary

Dobin Yim, Jiban Khuntia, Young Argyris
International Journal of Healthcare Information Systems and Informatics (IJHISI), Volume 10, Issue 3, Pp. 63-84

Online health infomediaries have the objective of knowledge exchange between participants. Visitor contribution is an important factor for the success of the infomediaries. Providers engaged with infomediaries need visitor identification for reputational incentives. However, identification or classification of visitors in online health infomediaries is sparse in literature. This study proposes two dimensions of participation, the intention and intensity levels of visitors, to conceptualize four user categories: community supporters, experiencer providers, knowledge questors, and expertise contributors. The authors validate these categories using a unique large data set collected from a health infomediary for cosmetic surgery, and consisting of 162,598 observed activities of 44,350 visitors, at different participation levels in the year 2012-13. They use cluster analysis to describe similarities and differences among the four user categories. Practice implications are discussed.