Patient decision aids

dr-patientHey, I found out about something I hadn’t heard about before: patient decision aids. It appears to be a movement being developed out of Canada (you know, that awful bastion of socialized medicine) with some participation from the US. Anyway, the idea is to provide patients with a body of information about the situation they’ve been diagnosed with and a process for talking it over with their doctor and reaching a mutually satisfactory decision about what to do. In the context of our current debate about health care reform one outcome welcome by about everyone is curtailing over-treatment.

A white paper from Healthwise, a nonprofit that develops the tools, defines a decision aid this way:

Patient decision aids are tools to help people participate with their doctors in key medical decisions. These aids are useful when there is more than one medically reasonable option to diagnose or treat a health problem—particularly when the options have different costs, risks, or benefits that some people might value differently than others.

This is something I want to keep track of. It sounds like a piece of Health 2.0 And it sounds like an attitude of joint participation between patient and provider that most people these days are looking for.

Oh yeah, here’s an example for herniated disc. Ouch!!

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