Technology plays an increasingly critical role in current markets. Diverse technological innovations are significantly changing how services are provided in different industries (Bitner & Brown, 2000). In this regard, new digital and Internet-related technologies are dramatically modifying how companies, employees, and customers interact in service encounters (Alba, Lynch, Weitz, Janiszewski., Lutz, Sawyer, & Wood, 1997; Hoffman & Novak, 1996). In the health care sector, Internet technologies have the potential to improve the provision of health and patient care services like no other communications medium in the past (Shepherd & Fell, 1997). The health care sector, where interpersonal encounters between health staff and patients determine to a great extent service quality and patient satisfaction, will require diverse modifications, in order to fully benefit from the improvements promised by Internet technologies.
Key Terms in this Chapter
LC Cluster Analysis: Latent class cluster analysis, which represents a robust and flexible statistical methodology for segmentation studies.
Telemedicine: Use of information technologies for the delivery of clinical care (e.g., home monitoring of patients through the Internet).
Electronic Health Care Records: Digital medical records which contain all relevant information of a person’s health.
Electronic Prescribing: Use of digital networks and devices to automate the drug prescription process.
Segmentation: Process of identifying subgroups of people with similar behavioral or attitudinal patterns.
General Practitioners: Physicians whose practice is not oriented to a specific medical specialty.
Digital Divide: Gap between individuals and communities with greater and lesser access to digital technologies.
Dedicated Networks: Digital networks dedicated to healthcare services.
E-Health: Health services and information delivered or enhanced through the Internet and related technologies.