Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 35 Number 4 2018 pp. 1277-1300

Impact of User-Generated Internet Content on Hospital Reputational Dynamics

Ivanov, Anton and Sharman, Raj


In pursuit of notable reputations, organizations commonly engage their stakeholders using various online mechanisms. While “reputation signaling” via online user engagement is commonplace, its implications in the context of user-generated content (UGC) remain largely unaddressed. This study empirically explores the impact of UGC on hospital reputational dynamics. A unique panel dataset was analyzed using a lagged model approach to determine the effects of signals of quality, awareness, and content variance on hospital prominence and quality as well as the impact of reputation on financial performance. The findings suggest that quality signals significantly impact patient-perceived quality ratings, and signals of awareness and content variance significantly impact prominence rating. Also, in contrast to prominence, perceived quality significantly and negatively impactsfinancial performance. Given the ready availability of user-generated feedback, these findings can inform patient-provider online engagement strategies and related budget allocations. Furthermore, they highlight the unique role of Facebook ratings as an antecedent to quality and prominence dimensions of reputation.

Key words and phrases: hospital reputation, healthcare, online prominence, quality signals, content variance, user-generated content, hospital utilization, financial performance, online engagement