USA Today column: Involve patients in medical decision making

My latest USA Today column was published this morning: Complex health choices require shared decisions.

With so many grey areas in medicine, there is often not a single, absolute answer.

I make the case for shared decision making: “The voice of patients needs to be considered for most medical decisions. That way, no matter what choice is made, it will always be the right one.”

Incidentally, there was a piece published by Jerome Groopman and Pamala Hartzbrand in the WSJ this past weekend along the same vein.

Enjoy the piece.


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  • Deborah Murphy

    Wow! I truly wish all doctors believed this. Last year I was “fired” from a specialist because I didn’t feel comfortable restarting heavy duty ra meds. I have experienced life threatening allergic reactions to almost all of them and not one has slowed my disease progress. I was done. This doctor, instead of acknowledging my concerns and documented medical history, told me that if he couldn’t write prescriptions for me there was no purpose in my being his patient. I am hoping with the need for reduced medical costs that this practice will skyrocket…shared decision making because I believe alot of patients would be willing to try food, exercise and the likes to control things like high BP, diabetes, high cholesterol etc….first.

  • Hilary Jarman

    I’m constantly amazed at the decisions doctors have to make, whether long-term, like Deborah Murphy below, or split-second ones in the ER like this one dealing with an obese, hemorrhaging Jehovah’s Witness:

    Thank you for adding your voice to that discussion!


  • Andres Molina


  • davemills555

    Yeah! Right! Uh, maybe you could start by treating your patients like adults and allowing them to obtain a copy of their own lab results. Today, many states refuse to allow patients to see their lab results before the doctor sees them. You want patients to be more involved in decision make, right? Don’t patients have to pay for these lab results? Don’t patients “own” those lab results? Doctors need to grow up! This is why we need the Affordable Care Act. We need a law to make the health care industry stop abusing the health care consumer!

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