The relationship between patient and physician is in flux with the advent of electronic media that are advancing and enhancing communication. We perform a retrospective, current, and forward-looking examination of the technologies by which information is exchanged within the healthcare community. The evolution from e-mail and listservs to blogs and the modern social networks is described, with emphasis on the advantages and pitfalls of each medium, especially in regard to maintaining the standards of privacy and professionalism to which doctors are held accountable. We support the use of contemporary platforms like Twitter and Facebook for physicians to establish themselves as trustworthy online sources of medical knowledge, and anticipate ongoing collaboration between researchers, patients, and their advocates in trial design and accrual.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.