Are my symptoms serious Dr Google?

Published: Tuesday 20th October 2015

Online self-diagnosis, where consumers engage with technology by applying their knowledge and skills to generate a medical diagnosis without the participation of a health care professional, is commonplace and is causing major concern.

The next Centre of Health and Social Research (CHaSR) seminar focuses on this topic and will be held on Melbourne Campus on 28 October.

Although co-creation of value for consumers and e-health service providers (i.e., suppliers of technological interfaces for consumers to self-diagnose) can occur via “do-it-yourself” diagnosis, we argue that it also has strong potential for value co-destruction. This is because of deficiencies in or misuse of resources (consumer or e-health provider).

Based on a review of the service science, information systems and health care literatures, we develop a typology of value co-destruction in online self-diagnosis. It shows that online self-diagnosis can result in value co-destruction of consumers’ service process and outcome when consumer resources are deficient or misused (e.g., knowledge) or when e-health provider resources are lacking (e.g., poor quality offerings). The value co-destruction perspective has not been examined previously in this context and is important because it can negatively affect consumers’ well-being. A consumer and service focus is missing from research on online self-diagnosis, which our typology addresses. Implications of our typology for providing online health information and more specialised self-diagnosis services are discussed, drawing on a multi-pronged, multi-stakeholder approach, along with future research opportunities.

Michael Jay Polonsky

Michael Jay Polonsky is an Alfred Deakin Professor within the Department of Marketing at Deakin University. He has taught at a number of Australian Universities, as well as having taught in NZ, South Africa and the US. His main research interests are issues around Marketing and Society and in 2010 he was the SMA Elsevier Distinguished marketer of the year for his over 20 years of work into environmental marketing. He is presently working on several health related projects related to ARC linkage projects, including one looking at Blood Donation within the African community, for which Professor Sandra Jones and Professor Andre Renzaho (UWS) are co-investigators. He has published over 150 journal works in a diverse range of journals.

Wednesday 28th October,
12pm for a 12:30pm start

Australian Catholic University
Level 5, Meeting Room 1
215 Spring Street, Melbourne

Friday, 23rd October

Lunch will be provided - please advise of any special dietary requirements when you RSVP.