Distinguishing "mHealth" from other healthcare services in a developing country: a study from the service quality perspective
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Mobile phones’ exponential growth is fuelling the emergence of mobile health (mHealth), thus contributing to healthcare services’ innovative transformation in developing countries. mHealth’s ubiquitous personalised capabilities obviate the access barriers and dismal performance of conventional systems, therefore gaining popularity among patients. Researchers have focused on service quality―a vital element of service adoption―and sustainability. For mHealth to become a robust alternative, how patients perceive mHealth vis-à-vis conventional services must be understood. Comparative analysis studies between mHealth and conventional systems are scarce yet would contribute to theory and strengthen the antecedent phases to service quality, that is, design and operation. mHealth is a viable alternative for fulfiling the unmet goal of quality of life for all. Prompted by these insights, this study is the first attempt to discover the differentiating characteristics of mHealth. Patients’ perceptions were analyzed by multiple discriminant analysis, a classification technique. The findings show that, in distinguishing between healthcare services, mHealth is a favourable alternative: service differentiation occurs along the dimensions of ubiquity, information-quality, and value. The findings’ implications for theory and practice and future research guidelines are also discussed.