The swell of activity encouraging a more consumer-based approach to health care over the past decade has deep ramifications. This shift is due in part to the proliferation of technology that facilitates increased patient access to information via the Internet, knowledge creation, and peer-to-peer sharing. These developments have signaled a seismic change in health care delivery, ostensibly shifting the locus of care from clinicians to patients. The phrase “patient empowerment” is often used to emphasize the value of having patients assert greater control over their health and health care.
Why has there not been a concomitant shift in norms of patient care? We hypothesize that although the conversation has shifted, the paternalism in health care has not. Without deeply examining this disconnect, health care providers cannot meaningfully create change and deliver the patient-centric care we (at least on the surface) espouse. ….more