Information and communication technologies have introduced new and impressive tools for information sharing and building computer mediated knowledge repositories in a global context. With a large growth in aging population and high prevalence rates for chronic and degenerative diseases, the importance of patients as ‘information managers’ is gaining increased recognition by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Successful management of most chronic health conditions involves self care on an outpatient basis. In the age of Internet, patients are able to build their adaptive coping and self-care skills by collecting information from various digital sources. This represents a significant step in modern medicine toward increased patient self-health care. Healthy People 2010 states that “the greatest opportunities for reducing health disparities are in empowering individuals to make informed health care decisions.” This paper examines the current trends in the use of the Internet by health care consumers and provides a discussion on how integration of Internet information into illness management resources changes the patient role. This discussion is placed within the larger context of the U.S. health care system, which is key to determining the impact of the Internet on patient health behavior.