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July 14, 1993

Producers of Videodisc Programs Strive to Expand Patient's Role in Medical Decision-Making Process

JAMA. 1993;270(2):160-162. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03510020020004

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GROUNDED in the belief that patients should be coequal partners in medical decision making, a group of investigators is developing interactive video programs to help patients understand their medical condition and the benefits and harms of treatment alternatives.

Five such programs, developed by the nonprofit Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making, Hanover, NH, are now available to physicians. Two deal with breast cancer (specifically addressing choice of surgery and need for adjuvant therapy). The others deal with benign prostatic hyperplasia, mild hypertension, and lower-back pain.

The more than 1000 patients who have used the benign prostatic hypertrophy program since its introduction in 1989 have been far more likely than surgeons to choose watchful waiting. The other four videos were introduced last fall (JAMA. 1992;267:1046-1051).

The foundation was created by Albert G. Mulley, Jr, MD, MPP, associate professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School and chief, General Internal Medicine Unit, Massachusetts General