Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts






health, organizations, care, patients, physicians


Over the past 30 years, there has been an increase in consumer and activist behavior among patients, including creating health advocacy groups, lobbying for health legislation and being more proactive with physicians. This behavior is often spurred by the problems of treating chronic disease, rising costs, decreasing accessibility, growing third party intervention in clinical decisions and disappearing accountability. While the impact of health consumerism on creating awareness of specific diseases or conditions, improving their socially stigmatized identities, expanding research policies and funding allowances is clear, there has been little research about whether or not these changes have had any effect on the doctor-patient relationship. By assessing the experiences, activities, demographics and attitudes of primary care physicians, the survey in this study was designed to shed light on that relationship. In general, the findings revealed a negative correlation between the amount of contact from health organizations and both a physician's perception of these organizations and views of the patient role. Because of the small sample size (n=24), the findings are preliminary, but serve to illustrate the potentially adverse effect this has for the health organizations in acquiring better care for patients. It would benefit physicians to better understand the goals of these organizations more. Similarly, it would be advantageous for the organizations to calculate an approach more closely aligned with physician style and preferences to collaborate more effectively. This includes offering to assist patients with the social dimensions of health care, including finding another physician, support groups, or learning more about their disease.