Study: Narratives can play role in patient decision-making

Stories used in patient education videos and pamphlets can make a difference in the decisions patients make for treatment, a new University of Missouri study shows. Researchers studied how stories included in decision aids help individuals make informed decisions about medical treatment options for early-stage breast cancer. They asked 200 healthy women to imagine they received a diagnosis of early-stage breast cancer. Half viewed an informational video about treatment options that included statistics and stories from breast cancer survivors who underwent lumpectomies and ration or mastectomies. The other half watched the same video but it omitted the patient stories. Although researchers found no treatment preference between the two groups, the women who watched the video with the stories considered the decision aid more trustworthy and emotional. Statement