Shared Decision Making
Sheridan Murray, Publications Coordinator
When you go to the doctor, anxiety and uncertainty may also accompany you on your visit.
Although studies show that patients are more informed than they were 20 or 30 years ago, you may experience frustration or dissatisfaction due to a feeling of inadequate input into your medical decisions.
The decisions providers make about your health are not taken lightly; however, you might feel left out of the loop if you aren’t informed about your options when it comes to treatment, preventative measures, diagnostic testing and more.
According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a model exists to help fix this.
Shared decision making is a model of patient-centered care that encourages individuals to play an active role in making the decisions that impact their health. With this model, not only are you completely informed about what is happening with your care and the available options, but you are also able to take part in selecting which option is best for you.
Shared decision making calls for a collaborative relationship in which providers and patients work together to determine appropriate tests, treatments, and care plans based on clinical evidence. The model operates under two main concepts:
1 When given good information, patients participate in the conversation. They will make the most of the decision making process alongside their provider, asking thoughtful questions and being vocal about their personal opinions when it comes to their own treatments and recommendations.
2 Providers will respect the goals and preferences that patients express to them, using those goals to guide recommendations and treatment. It’s the job of your provider to balance evidence-backed risks and anticipated outcomes with your preferences and values.
Joseph Hoyle, MD, MPH, is a HopeHealth provider specializing in family medicine. He’s also a strong supporter of shared decision making. “Most doctors do not get enough help from patients in making decisions, and often it is because we do not ask.”
When asked about the model, Dr. Hoyle explained the value of patient involvement is rooted in HopeHealth’s goal of compassion.
He said, “Many health care professionals see shared decision making as a patient right, although it may not be appropriate in every decision. In my family medicine clinic, the help I would like from patients can come in many ways, but most importantly, I want them to join with the nurse, the medical assistant, and me as a team. Once we agree that a choice should be made, I need help comparing options based on the patient’s values to help make a decision… I want the best health for my patients, [and I] want them to be cared for, to know they are part of a team, and that they got the right treatment.”
Providers like Dr. Hoyle have good reason to back the shared decision making model. According to the National Academy of Medicine, there is clear evidence to support the idea that most people want to be informed and involved in making choices about their medical care.
In a 2012 national survey, with adults who had seen at least one health care provider in the previous year responding, 7 in 10 wanted to understand the risks of treatments. Additionally, 8 in 10 wanted their health care provider to listen to them, but just 6 in 10 reported that they felt it actually happened.
The era of patient-centric health systems has only just begun, with shared decision making front and center. If you desire a deeper level of involvement in the choices that are made concerning your health, consider taking charge of your well-being by suggesting shared decision making to your provider.
To become a patient with HopeHealth, or for more information, call 843-667-9414 or visit us at www.hope-health.org.