A Brief Look at the History and Future of Patient-Facing Symptom Checkers

Enabled by technology, we live in an increasingly self-serve society. Instead of standing in line to see the bank teller, we find the nearest ATM. We use the internet to book our own airline and theater tickets and tap our credit card to pay for the gas we pump. The trend extends to health care as well, including self-serve transactions like paying bills online and using a kiosk to check-in before seeing the doctor, reviewing lab results on a patient portal, participating in patient-led disease communities, and searching online for health information and advice.

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