According to an article in the New York Times, Aetna will soon begin offering a new service to help enable patients to research their own specific medical conditions. Specifically, Aetna’s SmartSource Service will allow patients to link online research with their own medical records and claims data.  While a better patient educated patient population holds hope for cutting down on unnecessary medical expenses, there is also the possibility that patients will use this kind of service to exercise self-help rather than seeking professional care. Nevertheless, Aetna’s move is a sign of the times and Aetna is not the only one delving into this arena. According to the Times article, other companies like Google and Microsoft have similar plans. Physicians should begin preparing to deal with patients who are better educated about their own health care conditions than ever before.