On the Effect of Individual Differences on Shared Decision Making
Do patients want to participate in making decisions about their health? Is there a relationship between their preferences for shared decision making and numeracy skills? Are those preferences different in countries with different medical systems, and for different age groups? Extant studies cannot answer these questions because most are based on nonprobabilistic, highly selective patient samples that prevent generalizations to a broader population. In a survey on probabilistic national samples in the USA and Germany, we interviewed participants with low and high numeracy skills. A significant number of people with low numeracy in both the USA and Germany preferred to be more passive than they currently were. High-numeracy people, in contrast, were mostly satisfied with their current role. Education efforts to increase numeracy, as well as using nonquantitative communication formats, may foster involvement of low-numeracy patients in decisions about their health.
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