The Evolving Role of Consumers

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Health consumerism, Consumer health information, Consumer health movement, Patient empowerment, Patient engagement, Public access technologies, Personalization of medicine

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


The culmination of the changes in healthcare, motivated in many ways by the rapid evolution of information and communication technologies in parallel with the shift toward increased patient decision-making and empowerment, has critical implications for clinical research, from recruitment and participation to, ultimately, successful outcomes. This chapter explores the developments impacting health consumers from various perspectives, with some focus on foundational issues in health communication and information behaviors as related to health consumerism. An overarching concern is the information environment within which health consumers are immersed, which is increasingly social, and underlying communication issues and emerging technologies contributing to the changing nature of patients’ information world. Not surprisingly, we will see that core findings from communication and information behavior research have relevance for our current understanding and future models of the evolving role of the health consumer.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

The Evolving Role of Consumers, in R. L. Richesson & J. E. Andrews (Eds.), Clinical Research Informatics, Springer, p. 123-145