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Sharing Medicine
September 2017

Shared Decision Making—The Importance of Diagnosing Preferences

Author Affiliations
  • 1The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire
  • 2Dell Medical School, The University of Texas, Austin
JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177(9):1239-1240. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.1923

Shared decision making occurs when patients and clinicians reach a formulation about the presenting problem and discuss how to manage it. If there are several reasonable alternatives, the alternatives should be explicitly compared, using evidence about relevant harms and benefits. Such decisions should be informed by knowledge about the patients’ condition, about the evidence applicable to it, and the patient's goals and preferences. Eliciting patients’ views has been referred to as making a preference diagnosis,1 and eliciting it requires a blend of science and interpersonal skills.

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