Editorial |

The Potential Benefits of Decision Aids in Clinical Medicine

Adrian Edwards, MB, BS; Glyn Elwyn, MB, BS
JAMA. 1999;282(8):779-780. doi:10.1001/jama.282.8.779.
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The relationship between patients and health care professionals is evolving rapidly into a more active partnership, fostered by increasing access to information about treatments and by consumerist trends in modern society.1 The term shared decision making describes a true partnership between professionals and patients, in which each contributes equally to decisions about treatment or care.2 Shared decision making moves away from the paternalistic model, in which the professional (usually a physician) assumes the responsibility of deciding what is best for the patient,1 but it does not go so far as the informed choice model, in which control over decision making is vested entirely in the patient. The informed choice model sometimes has been found to increase patient anxiety and may lead to patients feeling abandoned.3 The shared decision making model is increasingly advocated.2


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