The transition from 'informed patient' care to 'patient informed' care

Stud Health Technol Inform. 2008;137:241-56.


We are in the midst of a real change in the application of information technology to support the delivery of healthcare. We are seeing a shift from the 'informed patient' which has resulted from improved access to healthcare information, primarily from the Web, to the 'participative patient' as we move into Web 2.0 territory. The last decade has seen significant strides in the application of healthcare information to support patient care including: Increased access to healthcare related information by the patient through access to healthcare information on the Web (1.0). The development of electronic patient/health records. Improved access to knowledge for care professionals has enabled the dissipation of professional clinical skills with the introduction of nurse practitioners and increased use of therapies. Improved access to patient related information across disciplines is beginning to enable the shift from acute based to community based care. The introduction of home care technologies has enabled self monitoring in supporting self care. There are also developments in the way care is provided with an increasing diversity of healthcare providers with the challenges this has presented in exchanging patient related information to support continuity of care. We are now at another major turning point that could present greater challenges for healthcare professionals, organisations and the patient or client. These developments include: The application of information sharing services commonly referred to as Web 2.0. As a result we are seeing a transition from the 'informed patient' to the 'participative patient' that will present increasing challenges for healthcare professionals and healthcare organisations in adapting care to embrace this evolution. New entrants to the ehealth market are now emerging such as Google and Microsoft who are competing to 'own' the 'healthcare consumer'. Open source solutions for EPR/EHRs are now emerging that will challenge the traditional mechanisms for delivery of organisational healthcare solutions. Technologies that have been growing in use and demand over the past decade are now being applied to healthcare including digital TV and mobile computing. What then are the challenges for patients, healthcare organisations and information service providers as we move from the passive role of the patient in the provision of their care to a more participative role?

MeSH terms

  • Confidentiality
  • Consumer Health Information / trends*
  • Delivery of Health Care / trends*
  • Health Services Accessibility / trends*
  • Humans
  • Internet / trends*
  • Patient Participation*
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Telemedicine / trends
  • United Kingdom