Patient empowerment is a buzzword that has gained much currency in recent years. It is defined as a process that helps people gain control over their own lives and increases their capacity to act on issues that they themselves define as important. This paper outlines the problems faced by the current medical model of patient empowerment and proposes a unique framework for patient empowerment that provides guidance on how health technology supports or detracts from empowering patients and families. The paper provides an ethical lens for physicians, policymakers, patients, and families in the health care system to consider the central role of the principles of autonomy and justice in patient empowerment. This paper also discusses how technology can be used to further patient empowerment and patient-centeredness of health care systems.
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