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Harv Rev Psychiatry. 2010 Mar-Apr;18(2):96-102. doi: 10.3109/10673221003683952.

The psychiatrist-patient relationship of the future: anytime, anywhere?

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of California, Davis, 95864, USA.


The core doctor-patient relationship is changing and becoming more fluid. Many factors are causing the changes, but they are being underpinned by the current technological revolution, which has spawned terms such as e-patients, health 2.0, participatory medicine, and virtual medicine in cyberspace. The Internet is being used so creatively and commonly by both patients and doctors that it has become literally a "part" of the doctor-patient relationship. To explore how the psychiatrist-patient relationship is changing, five simple questions are examined: How are patient expectations and behaviors changing? Who is using the Internet for mental health care? What online mental health services are currently being offered? How are current and past models of the psychiatrist-patient relationship being affected by these changes? And what is the psychiatrist-patient relationship of the future likely to be? Psychiatrists working in this environment will need to make changes to their practices over time. It is likely that their relationships with patients will continuously change, gradually becoming more participatory and ubiquitous, as care is provided both face-to-face and online-and literally anytime, anywhere.

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