Reform movement could break down barriers and reduce over-treatment and waste in system
"Our hope is that this timely report will encourage health reform advocates and leaders to keep the needs of patients and the concerns of physicians on this issue at the forefront as they design improvements to the infrastructure of our health care system," says
The Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making believes that informed decision-making is a patient's right and if patients are fully supported in exercising that right, health care costs and over-treatment will decline, while care will be more in line with what patients value.
"To truly transform our health care delivery system into one centered on the patient, we need to develop better tools and approaches to help patients make decisions about their care," says
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the US spends as much as
"Increasingly, patients are faced with medical decisions that have many options, uncertain outcomes, and benefits and harms that are valued differently by each individual," and "patients and providers bring different expertise to the decision," the paper's authors write. "Providers are mainly responsible for assimilating and appropriately applying evidence-based information, and patients are responsible for sharing their preferences." By using shared decision-making, they add, "physicians can determine which choice best matches what is most important to the patient and deliver high quality care that is "both evidence-based and patient-centered."
The survey questioned physicians on experiences with, benefits of, and barriers to shared decision-making. It also explored factors that influence if and when physicians engage patients in shared decision-making, their willingness to use patient decision aids that provide unbiased information in user-friendly ways, and their reactions to specific ideas for increasing patient involvement in shared decision-making.
The team found that overall physicians support the principle of shared decision-making. However, physicians identify the lack of adequate time with patients as a major challenge, and they raise some concern about the ability of patients to understand all they need to know
Overwhelmingly, physicians responded that reimbursement for the use of patient decision aids and time spent counseling patients around decision choices would allow physicians to fully embrace the shared decision-making process.
For specific findings and the complete white paper, go to www.InformedMedicalDecisions.org.
For a summary of the Foundation's
The Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making's mission is to assure that people understand their choices and have the information they need to make sound decisions affecting their health and well being. The Foundation organizes and frames medical evidence in an unbiased manner to help people evaluate their options, particularly in instances where differences in individual preferences and perspectives are likely to affect personal choice.
SOURCE Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making