We initiated the CAIS Special Section on Patient-Centered e-Health (PCEH) to provide support for the PCEH discipline, which has recently emerged to meet the practical need of supporting patients in managing their health. Because there are significant challenges in designing, developing, and using PCEH applications, there are many opportunities for IS researchers to study familiar topics, but in the very different healthcare delivery context. As an emerging discipline, PCEH is struggling with reconciling ambiguous definitions across studies, defining the discipline boundaries (how they overlap and are distinct from related research areas), and developing the exemplary research studies that can guide future research. Thus, the goal of this Special Section, as far as possible, is to gather a set of research articles that will move the PCEH discipline forward by providing resources and examples to support future PCEH research that is theory-based, is focused, and can build a cumulative literature and research tradition.

In this Introduction to the CAIS Special Section, we argue that IS researchers are especially well-equipped to undertake PCEH research and thereby overcome the many challenges unique to PCEH study. We discuss the challenges in the emerging PCEH discipline and present approaches that IS researchers might take to meet these challenges and produce the exemplary studies needed to further the discipline. Our arguments and observations are supported by the fourteen articles that make up the Special Section. These fourteen articles represent four areas of emerging PCEH research, namely PCEH and the Healthcare Delivery Context; Models of Acceptance, Use, and/or Outcomes; Patient-centered Design Research; and Assessment of PCEH websites.