Effects of Online-Offline Service Integration on e-Healthcare Providers: A Quasi-Natural Experiment
Production and Operations Management, Forthcoming
40 Pages Posted: 11 Mar 2021
Date Written: January 17, 2021
E-healthcare platforms start to integrate medical services across online and offline channels, where providers can perform online consultations, schedule patients’ offline visits, synchronize relevant medical records, and finally, answer online inquiries regarding follow-up and recovery anytime and anywhere within one operations management function (i.e., online-offline service integration). In this study, we seek to quantify the effects of online-offline service integration on the e-healthcare providers’ demand and reputational outcomes, noting that it is not altogether clear how the service integration function will affect the providers who adopt such a function in e-healthcare platforms. Leveraging a quasi-natural experiment on an e-healthcare platform, we conducted difference-in-differences analyses in tandem with a variety of matching strategies, including propensity score matching and look-ahead propensity score matching. Further, we explored the moderating roles of provider-specific characteristics. Our results reveal a set of robust and interesting findings: i) e-healthcare providers, on average, experience increases in online demand and decreases in offline demand post online-offline service integration; ii) the service integration function also improves the professional reputation of participating providers; iii) the impact of channel integration on the outcomes are weaker for providers with lower (vs. higher) professional titles; and iv) the providers who specialize in treating chronic (vs. acute) diseases experience greater increases in online demand and reputational outcomes, yet insignificant changes in offline demand. This work contributes to related prior literatures on healthcare operations management, e-healthcare, and online-offline channel integration, offering design implications for the service operations of e-healthcare platforms.
Keywords: online-offline service integration, healthcare operations management, e-healthcare, difference-in-differences, look-ahead propensity score matching
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