ABSTRACT

This chapter explores the concept of the “expert patient” and examines contemporary digital health practices including seeking health information online and the widespread usage of self-tracking apps and wearable technologies by both patients and other individuals. It analyzes how various types of health communities develop on the Internet and the functions they serve. The chapter discusses the response of doctors to such emerging digital healthcare practices and end with a discussion on the critical implications of such developments. The term “expert patient” was first used in England as part of a Department of Health initiative to manage patients with chronic illnesses. Healthcare policies in many countries promote the ideal of the expert patient who engages in self-management of his/her own health using digital technologies. Physicians should also be open about guiding their patients to credible sources of health information.