Value co-creation in online health communities: the role of participants' posts, network position and behavioral patterns

Date: 9 March 2016

Venue: University of Antwerp - Promotiezaal Grauwzusters, Lange Sint-Annastraat 7 - 2000 Antwerp

Time: 5:00 PM

PhD candidate: Sarah Van Oerle

Principal investigator: Prof Annouk Lievens

Co-principal investigator: Prof. Dominik Mahr

Short description: PhD defence Sarah Van Oerle - Faculty of Applied Economics


Patients increasingly use the Internet to gather health-related information and to connect with peers in online health communities (OHCs). In doing so, patients co-create cognitive or so called cure related value which is information that helps them better understand their disease and learn about new treatments. Furthermore, patients co-create affective or so called care related value which conveys empathy to help patients in bearing the burden of the disease and coping with resulting stress.

The aim of current dissertation is to investigate both cognitive and affective value co-creation in online health communities (OHCs), on three levels. First, different community features are investigated that determine value co-creation on the community level. Second, within the OHC, characteristics of postings driving value co-creation are identified. Third, the community members´ social network structure as a driver for value co-creation in OHCs is investigated. The final study, then, examines the integration of OHCs in the patient’ service delivery network.