The classic story of disruptive technology is all too familiar. Travel websites replace agents by giving consumers access to the same rates. Uber offers transportation outside of the established taxi cab system. Amazon brings outlet shopping into our homes. The common thread in all these examples is the transfer of more power to consumers. These changes usually cut costs, increase efficiency and often force out those who cannot keep up. Most of these fundamental developments occur in fields that do not require highly technical expertise, such as housing and transportation, allowing consumers to take control without extensive training.
The specialized knowledge and professional barriers in medical practice have, for many years prevented consumer involvement—leaving control and decision making solely in the hands of the healthcare provider, with the patient largely on the receiving end of information that directly affects their care.
However, these barriers are beginning to crumble.
Over several decades, patients have become more active in pursuing better care and are looking for knowledge sources that can help them become more educated and active participants in their care. Recently, advancements in AI (artificial intelligence), big data analytics, mobile technology and cloud computing have started to enable patients to take greater control of their medical care, leading towards a major shift in the patient-physician relationship.