Shared decision making between providers, patients lacking

Despite calls for shared decision making, nine out of ten Medicare patients who received a stent procedure for coronary disease said their physicians failed to provide information on alternatives, according a study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

While 77 percent talked with doctors "a lot" or "some" about the reasons for the stents, only 19 percent talked about the cons of the procedure. The study also found that physicians asked only 16 percent of patients for their treatment preferences.

"We're not saying that they made the wrong choice" by having the surgery or stenting, but "people should know what all the options are," study author Floyd J. Fowler Jr. and senior research fellow at the Center for Survey Research at the University of Massachusetts Boston told the Wall Street Journal.

In order to make informed healthcare decisions, patients should know all of the options, discuss the pros and cons, and give their treatment preferences, according to researchers.

The study demonstrates that physicians need to better involve patients in the decision-making process before performing elective procedures--supporting other research that shows the move toward patient-centered care calls for making patients collaborators in their own care decisions.

To help healthcare providers foster shared decision-making, U.K. researchers are testing a new iPad app that would involve stroke patients in treatment and care decisions.The new app, which is in pilot testing at hospitals in Newcastle and North Tynsdale, England, gives patients and their families a "visual representation" of the types of treatments the patient may need, plus bar charts, flowcharts and other graphic images that show the effects of using (or not using) thrombolysis in their case, FierceMobileHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- read the WSJ article
- here's the study abstract
- read the press release (.pdf)
- check out the FieceMobileHealthcare article