Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Computer Information Systems

First Advisor

Dr. Arun Rai

Second Advisor

Dr. J.J. Po-An Hsieh

Third Advisor

Dr. Aaron Baird

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Sean Xin Xu


Information technology (IT) is empowering consumers, service providers, and inventor teams with superior services. Various IT innovations are enabling diverse groups of people to search, exchange, and learn from information. In healthcare services, the context of the three essays of this dissertation, information resources are often not equally accessible to consumers, not transparent between patients and physicians, and hard to locate across technological domains that may be relevant to the development of breakthrough innovations. Focusing on empowering roles of IT in healthcare services, I develop a three-essay dissertation to study how IT can enable information access to (i) address health inequalities in developing regions of the world, (ii) strengthen the physician-patient relationship where patient trust in the physician has atrophied, and (iii) energize inventor teams in the development of medical device innovations.

Essay 1 examines consumers’ awareness and use of mobile health that can empower consumers to access health advice information. Essay 2 investigates how online health consultation communities can empower physicians to build trust with patients, and gain social and economic advantages in competitive healthcare services. Essay 3 studies the role of digital capabilities to empower inventor teams in medical device companies by converting expertise of inventor teams into broad and deep knowledge capital and expanding knowledge production regarding medical device innovations.

I adopt a pluralistic approach to collect data (surveys administered in multiple languages for Essay 1, scraping web data from online communities for Essay 2, and constructing a multisource archival panel dataset for Essay 3) and analyze data (multivariate analysis for Essay 1, multilevel modeling and econometrics for Essay 2 and Essay 3). The essays contribute to our understanding about the acceptance of empowering IT innovations, the empowering role of user-generated content in online communities for providers of credence services, and the empowering role of IT for inventor teams of healthcare innovations.