[The information age and its effect on the doctor-patient relationship] Academic Article uri icon


  • A variety of reasons can explain the paternalistic relationship between doctor and patient that prevailed for centuries. Undoubtedly, the exclusive control exercised by doctors over medical knowledge, constitutes a primary reason for the perpetuation of this relationship. However, in the past few generations, substantial changes have evolved in the nature of the physician-patient encounter. For example, the concept of "informed consent", introduced by social and legal changes, has subsequently led to the empowerment of the patient. Furthermore, the current information revolution might well bring about even more substantial changes in the doctor-patient relationship. In this article we will discuss the principal changes that have occurred in the doctor-patient relationship due to the information revolution, and explore future trends which might be expected in view of these changes.

publication date

  • January 1, 2004