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February 24, 1993

The Era of the PatientUsing the Experience of Illness in Shaping the Missions of Health Care

JAMA. 1993;269(8):1012-1017. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03500080060033

The emergence of an era that focuses on the experiences of individuals with illness to provide an alternative voice in health care is explored. Antecedent events that caused the eclipse of the patient and challenged the authenticity of personal experience in establishing medical facts—the introduction of the concept of diseases and the technologic revolution in medicine—are examined. Recent events that returned the patient's views to the center of medical attention—the medical ethics and outcomes movements—are analyzed and connected. Recommendations are presented to make the experience of individuals with illness significant features of health care practice, education, research, and policy, and to reverse the view of patients and subjects as individuals benefited by medicine, but unable to help it.

(JAMA. 1993;269:1012-1017)