About 10 days ago I tweeted this, "How can a patient, who does not know what meds she is on or why, seriously participate in 'Shared Decision Making'"
After receiving several negative comments about the tweet, I blogged in detail about patients not knowing what meds they were taking and finished with this:
“While I’m on shared decision making, I have this final comment. Physicians should not present three options with lengthy dissertations on the myriad side effects of treatment and no real advice as to what would be best for the patient. You cannot teach someone the anatomy, physiology or the nuances of medical care in a shared decision making discussion, especially if that patient can’t even remember what his meds are.”
Thanks to MedPage Today’s rather indirect mention of a poll involving patients and my superior internet research skills, I discovered this recent study from the Journal of Medical Ethics. Investigators at the University of Chicago surveyed 8308 hospitalized internal medicine patients and found that after hearing their options and being offered choices, 67% preferred to leave medical decisions to their doctor.
As I said before, I always review the options with a patient, listen to their concerns and answer their questions. But as the majority of patients themselves believe, I think I am in the best position to recommend the appropriate treatment. Maybe a better term than “shared decision making” would be “shared information.”