Whereas patients have traditionally relied on physicians to act as knowledge-brokers and decision-makers, patients as consumers are taking a greater part in decisions about the health services they use and the treatments they receive. The growing number of complementary health services available, recent innovations in information and other technologies, an increased public awareness of healthcare issues and the trend toward greater consumer empowerment, including a desire for effective and efficient care, are forces that are contributing to the reshaping of the relationship between patient and provider.
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