Patients have long been urged to get involved in their own health care, but often without sufficient rationale or methods for doing so.
Studies now demonstrate that shared doctor-patient decision making has multiple benefits, and new approaches to it are making involvement easier for patients.
This is good news for employers looking to offer clearer and more effective benefits packages to their employees.
Laura Landro published an article in The Wall Street Journal entitled “How to Get Patients to Take More Control of Their Medical Decisions,” which takes an in-depth look at these developments.
According to Landro, “While data is limited on how shared decision making affects long-term health, studies do show that it leads to better outcomes, fewer invasive procedures and lower costs. What’s more, 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.”
She also describes three approaches to shared doctor-patient decision making that are beginning to have an impact:
Decision aids − from printed pamphlets and brochures, to interactive software and videos − “improve patients’ knowledge of their options, make them feel more informed and clear about what matters most to them, and lead them to participate more in decision making.”
With research continuing to establish their benefits, decision aids are becoming more widely used.
Studies are showing that simpler information − and relatively smaller amounts of it, in more manageable chunks − is critical to helping patients make good decisions about their own care. Doctors are therefore finding new ways to present information to patients in these ways.
Doctors are making patient medical records more accessible and easier to understand, as “research shows that access helps patients understand the importance of playing an active role in their own care.”
To read Landro’s entire article, see “How to Get Patients to Take More Control of Their Medical Decisions.”
If you’d like to discuss benefit plans for your employees that integrate new approaches to shared doctor-patient decision making like these, please contact us.