Harnessing the internet as an effective health information tool to empower patients, carers, and members of the public.

The emergence of the contemporary information society is a product of the confluence of technology, public policy and broader socio-economic change.

Digital Technologies and Transformation

Digital technologies have not only allowed consumers unprecedented access to information on organisational performance, and hence choice, but have also allowed organisations to transform service provision through the integration of such technologies into service delivery processes. 

The consequence has been an unsettling of the consumer-organisational interface as changing access to, and use of, information has forced the renegotiation of respective roles and power relationships. Anchored in neoliberal economic theory, public policy has emphasised the role of the consumer as the critical agent in enhancing organizational performance and efficiency. Central to consumer fulfilment of this role through the exercising of choice in service provision is access to information.

Emergence of Information Provision

The result is the emergence of information provision to consumers as a recurring refrain in public policy across a range of sectoral settings, from healthcare to utilities. Concurrent with these technological and policy developments has been social change manifest in the challenging of political and professional establishments. Underpinned by increasing occupational and educational parity, the challenging of science and a pervasive media, such social change has liberated consumers from many of the traditional constraints on behaviour and altered the relationship between consumers, professionals, organisations and the state.