How to Get Patients to Take More Control of Their Medical Decisions

Studies show that shared doctor-patient decision making leads to better health-care outcomes, fewer invasive procedures, and lower costs. So what are hospitals doing to facilitate doctor-patient decision making?

They’re designing decision aids, for instance, that walk patients through different options, translating complicated medical jargon and statistics about risk into simple language and visual aids. They’re offering patients full access to their own medical records, including their doctor’s notes about them. And they’re training doctors to help guide patients to make informed choices.

Another benefit: Those who participate in health-care decisions with their doctor are less likely to regret the choices they make and more likely to stick to the treatment regimens they select.

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