What is an ePatient? - Definition & Characteristics

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
This lesson is going to define a concept known as an ePatient. You may not know who this is, but you might be one already! You'll also learn about some of the many characteristics of such an individual.

The All-Knowing Physician

Gone are the days when doctors were seen as all-knowing figures who should not be questioned. Today, medicine and scientific innovation moves at such an incredibly rapid pace that no one physician can keep up with all the new information coming out all over the world every day, let alone possibly know all there is about the human body and all of its clinical aspects.

That's why many physicians refer cases to specialists, subspecialists, and even sub-sub-specialists in many fields. It's because there is that much to understand and keep track of for one person!

And this, along with ease of access to information, is why many patients have decide to take an active approach in looking after their health alongside their physician. Such patients are sometimes called ePatients. Let's find out more about them in this lesson.

Definition & Characteristics

An ePatient is a person that tries to participate fully in his or her medical care by gaining information, seeking advice, and finding support about their condition via sources such as the internet. A broader definition of an ePatient can include individuals that do so on behalf of a friend or family member.

Regardless, the 'e' in ePatient may stand for one of various characteristics describing such an individual with respect to their health and making healthcare decisions. They are:

  • 'E'nabled. They have (or have been given) the means, ability, and power to participate in their own health.
  • 'E'quipped, whether it be with access to the internet or some other means.
  • 'E'lectronic. As in, they may use the internet.
  • 'E'mpowered thanks to the information they find.
  • 'E'ngaged in their own medical care because they find it important to be engaged!
  • 'E'qual. In other words, the see themselves as an equal partner with their doctor when it comes to participating in their medical care and making the best decision for them.

Example

Let's take a look at some of the many other characteristics of an ePatient with an example.

Kendra was recently diagnosed with diabetes. This really shocked and jolted her into becoming a lot more active and engaged in her own health. She barely knew what diabetes was before, but has now used digital means, such as apps and websites, to learn more about what causes it, how it may be managed, what she should eat, drink, and how should exercise. She also learns about the risks and complications of diabetes.

Empowered with this knowledge, she is now:

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