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October 16, 2013

The Value of Sharing Treatment Decision Making With Patients: Expecting Too Much?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Departments of Medicine and Health Management and Policy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
JAMA. 2013;310(15):1559-1560. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.278944

The growing emphasis on patient-centered care is increasing the demand on physicians’ time and effort to more fully engage patients and their families in treatment decision making. Thus, it is important to understand the potential effects of shared decision making (SDM) with patients on the outcomes of clinical encounters. Shared decision making is being strongly promoted for several reasons. First, it is the ethical responsibility of clinicians to facilitate patient involvement in treatment decision making because patients and their families are ultimately subjected to the outcomes of these decisions. Second, there is evidence that more engaged patients are more informed, more likely to fully deliberate about the risks and benefits between different treatment options, and ultimately more satisfied with the clinical encounter.1 The objectives of SDM are to fully inform patients and their families about treatment options, including the trade-offs between risk and benefits, and to incorporate patient values and preferences into treatment decisions.