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A Valentine to Shared Decision Making


Shared decision making is hot right now. ResearchSurveysToolsTrainingConferencesPolicies.

The current model of shared decision making consists of providing patients with evidence that allows them to compare the risks and side effects of different treatments or preventive services when more than one option is available. After studying the evidence, the theory goes, patients discuss it with their physician, weigh their personal preferences and together the two agree upon a course of action.

As an advocate for policies that support people's engagement in their health care and a veteran of a few serious illnesses, I support this approach. But I am also currently a cancer patient. Over the past months, I have found it hard to align the neatness of shared decision making that exists in the warm environment of the conference room with the cold reality of the exam room. It seems idealized, isolated from the clutter of health care delivery and the emotional and physical ebb and flow of illness. As a professional, I looked forward to an orderly process of sharing decisions with my oncologist.  Here is my day-to-day experience, not much different than that of the average patient:

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More Blog Posts by Jessie Gruman

author bio

Jessie C. Gruman, PhD, was founder and president of the Center for Advancing Health from 1992 until her death in July 2014. Her experiences as a patient — having been diagnosed with five life-threatening illnesses — informed her perspective as an author, advocate and lead contributor to the Prepared Patient Blog. Her book, AfterShock, helps patients and caregivers navigate their way through the health care system following a serious or life-threatening diagnosis. The free app, AfterShock: Facing a Serious Diagnosis, offers a pocket guide based on the book. | More about Jessie Gruman

Tags for this article:
Patient Engagement   Jessie Gruman   Communicate with your Doctors   Make Good Treatment Decisions   Participate in your Treatment   Inside Healthcare  

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