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More Patients Are Having a Say in Their Medical Care

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HealthDay

November 18
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FRIDAY, Nov. 17, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. doctors and patients are making more decisions together, which looks like a win-win for both, researchers say.

A new analysis of national survey data found that shared decision-making between doctors and patients rose 14 percent between 2002 and 2014.

Patients said doctors have become more likely to: ask them to help make medical decisions; listen to them carefully; show respect for what they said; spend enough time with them; and provide easy-to-understand information.

"There has been increased attention among clinicians and health systems to involve patients in decision-making," said Dr. Jeffrey Linder, co-lead author of the study. He's chief of general internal medicine and geriatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

"Patients who have engaged in shared decision-making understand their condition and options better. They feel less uncertain about a chosen course of action," Linder said in a university news release.

Shared decision-making can lead to better-informed patients, he added. For example, they may decide against treatments that have little or no benefit.

Also, doctors are realizing that patients will not necessarily comply with recommendations blindly, said study co-lead author Dr. David Levine, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School. "Moving the conversation to a space where it is a shared decision likely improves adherence."

Still, the study also found that more than 30 percent of Americans felt their doctor did not always listen to them, and more than 40 percent felt their doctor did not always spend enough time with them.

Shared decision-making was lower among patients in poor health and those of a different race/ethnicity than their doctor, according to the study.

The study involved about 10,000 survey respondents a year from 2002 to 2014. The results were published in the November/December issue of the journal Annals of Family Medicine.

More information

The University of North Carolina Medical School has more on doctor-patient communication.


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