This article, So who are we, patients or consumers? won’t end the debate, but Dr. Pearl does bring up some interesting perspectives.  There are times when those needing health care are consumers and times when they are a patient.  If other industries are an indication of the future of health care, then the balance will shift to being a consumer.  The consumer will decide which specialist they want to see, compare costs of procedures at different locations, etc. For example Surgery Center of Oklahoma  They will also be patients at times, but Emergency care only accounts for 2% of total health care expenditures.  In reviewing comments from patients in our surveys, they are consumers, they are voicing their opinion of their care and whether they would refer others to this practice or physician.  The debate isn’t over, as the reader’s voice compeling arguements as well, in the comments section of this article.