M. Czerwinska, D. Czerwinski

Lublin University of Technology (POLAND)
In the modern world the dynamic development of information and communication technologies can improve the ability to acquire, process, store and use of information. It is very important due to the increasing importance of information as one of the determinants of economic growth. Internet has become the primary source of knowledge about health, overtaking other media and sources of knowledge such as newspapers, doctor’s visit or consultation with family and friends. Its advantages are mainly fast access to information and ease of obtaining them. It also allows for better preparation for visit to the doctor’s office. On the basis of e-health the notion of e-patient was developed. For the first time “e-patient” term has been used by T. Ferguson in 1996. In the United States the concept developed by T. Ferguson is supported and evolved by the Society for Participatory Medicine. Ferguson in his work has defined e-patients as medical consumers who are actively involved in the process of taking care of their health, posses the rights to this and are essentially prepared to do it.

The subject of the present discussion are issues relating to the characteristics of e-patients and behaviors identification of patients using the Internet. The purpose of this article is to examine the impact of Internet sources on e-patients knowledge. The review of the most reliable Polish medical portals designed for patients was made. The advantages and reasons for the existence of such portals were determined. The results confirm the assumed working hypothesis about big role of Internet as the source of medical information for wide range of customers in the form of e-patients.