Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Computer Information Systems

First Advisor

Balasubramaniam Ramesh

Second Advisor

Likoebe Maruping

Third Advisor

Aaron Baird

Fourth Advisor

Tabitha James


While health information technology research has examined a variety of topics (e.g., adoption and assimilation of technology within healthcare organizations, critical success factors), it has remained unclear how the uniqueness of the online context (e.g., users connecting with strangers for social and emotional support) influences consumer health information technology (CHIT) implementations. Towards this goal, this dissertation examines the influence of online social context on CHIT implementations and outcomes. Using theories from social psychology, this dissertation encompasses two empirical research essays. The first essay draws on the environmental enrichment concept to examine the influential role of the online social context of a gamified CHIT on its success. By surveying existing fitness technology users, we demonstrate the influence of the social context enabled by CHITs on behavioral adherence to exercise. The second essay draws on construal level theory to examine the influence of textual information (such as race, geographic location) in online patient communities on a user’s trust of the community and the system as well as their intentions to participate in them. Using randomized experiments, we identify some of the propinquity-related factors that influence a user’s trust in online patient communities. The key contribution of this dissertation is the advancement of our understanding of the important role played by the social context enabled by the CHITs.


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