1. Tyson, Ted R.


It is not at all surprising that people are not enamored of hospitals, as they are almost always associated with negatives such as pain, loss of mobility, and high cost. On a less emotional level, hospitals are perceived as big businesses, and consumers are getting inured to a consistently decreasing level of caring and service, particularly from "service" businesses. Many people are going to the Internet for health information due to the belief that today's doctor-patient relationship lacks an attention to detail and personal touch that was there in the past. The Internet is empowering consumers. If it continues this way, consumers will rely on physicians less and shop for alternatives more. In this article, the author makes the following points: (1) Consumer attitudes about traditional health care providers are changing significantly as their desire for more involvement in and control over the management of their health increases. This desire increases their need for information. (2) The Internet is proving to be the information source consumers need. Anyone with a modem-equipped personal computer and a telephone line can access health care and scientific information on Web sites ranging from Medline and the Merck Manual to Ask Dr. Dean and Dr. Ruth. (3) There are alternatives to traditional providers and methods, and consumers can not only find them on the Internet, but also get information that is stated objectively and non-technically.