Patients at the center: in our practice, and in our use of language

Goldfarb, David S.; Montori, Victor M.; Devereaux, P. J.; Sch√ľnemann, Holger; Bhandari, Mohit; Guyatt, Gordon
May 2004
ACP Journal Club;May/Jun2004, Vol. 140 Issue 3, pA-14
Academic Journal
In their editorial about patients sharing decision-making responsibilities with physicians, authors review some of the evidence that patients favor involvement in their own care. They neglect a more complex body of evidence, however, that suggests that while patients like the idea of greater choice, they often find it to be less satisfying in practice. But, reliable information is difficult to obtain. The advent of the Internet has increased access to information, as author contends, but the information being accessed may be unreliable or untrustworthy. Obtaining additional opinions and performing research are potentially costly and time-consuming. Another problem is that as options multiply, patients' standards for what is an acceptable outcome rise, with a loss of perspective of what may reasonably be achieved. Most of the women with breast cancer preferred a passive role, leaving the decision-making responsibility to their physicians.


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