The term e-patient was coined by Tom Ferguson to describe individuals who “are equipped, enables, empowered and engaged in their health and health care decisions” (e-patients.net, 2014). Tom envisioned healthcare “as an equal partnership between e-patients and health professionals and systems that support them” (e-patients.net, 2014). Essentially, an e-patient is a person, a consumer, who understands and participates fully in his or her medical care. An e-patient, also called an internet patient, see’s themselves as an equal partner with their doctors in the healthcare process.

E-patients typically gather their own information about possibly diagnosis or other medical conditions using medical electronic tools such as WebMD or Mayo Clinic looking for possible answers to specific medical questions. E-patients tend to be very active in their personal care.
The “e” typically stands for electronic but can also mean: equipped, enabled, empowered, engaged, equals, emancipated, or expert.

E-Patients are unique in that they go above and beyond to:
1) Search for health information at any time of the day or night.
2) Research a diagnosis or prescription.
3) Prepare for surgery or find out how best to recover from one.
4) Get tips from other caregivers and e-patients about dealing with a particular symptom.
5) Give and receive emotional support.
6) Keep family and friends informed of a loved one's condition.
7) Find humor and even joy in a bad situation.
(Fox, 2003)


E-patients are one of the main focuses in Health Informatics: the consumer. E-patients are going to be using electronic personal health records and medical databases to do research on conditions they may have or could possibly have in the future. They are the champions of health information exchange

Web Resources:


Related Terminology:

Personal Health Record
Health Consumer


Fox, S (July 16, 2003). Health searches and email have become more commonplace, but there is room for improvement in searches and overall Internet access.
Retrieved from: http://www.pewinternet.org/files/old-media//Files/Reports/2003/PIP_Health_Report_July_2003.pdf.pdf

Finn, N (October 17, 2014). What has happened to the Personal Health Record?
Retrieved from http://e-patients.net/