Trend: Shared physician-patient decision-making becoming more common

Of late, patients have been growing more sophisticated about their care, thanks in part to the extensive health information available on the web. They've also been pushed to to consider the relative benefits of different procedures and treatments, which they may end up paying for in full with high-deductible policies.

Driven by trends like these, physicians are increasingly taking part in a process dubbed "shared decision-making." Instead of just teaching patients what to expect of a test or procedure, they're sharing information about the pros and cons of different treatments and tests, and letting patients decide what they want. Sometimes this involves decision-aid brochures and videos as well.

For example, physicians are letting men know that the PSA blood test may generate an abnormal PSA test even if men don't have prostate cancer, which sometimes lead to decisions about surgery or radiation treatments that may inflict harm.

Another area where such decision-making is becoming more common is treatment of breast cancer. For example, every woman diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer now sees a decision-aid video before meeting a surgeon. After seeing the video, staffers check to see if women understand their treatment options and potential outcomes.

To learn more about this trend:
- read this Associated Press article

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