Shared Medical Decision-Making

  • Robert M. Kaplan

I have heard two different complaints from members of my family about the discussions they have had with their doctors. During her advanced years, my mother often complained that her doctor never asked about her preferences for alternative treatments. “Too busy,” she noted. The doctor would report, “We are going to put you on a new medicine.” Who did he mean by “we”? At the other extreme, my brother noted that his doctor once explained that there were many different approaches for his problem and threw up his hands because he did not know which one was best. My brother asked, “Which one would you use on yourself?”—and they went with that alternative. Neither of these stories is likely to inspire much faith or confidence in how the medical decision-making process works. In both cases, which I believe are not atypical, the patient’s preferences were not appropriately assessed.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert M. Kaplan
    • 1
  1. 1.UCLA School of Public HealthLos AngelesUSA

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