Quality Matters Archive

Quality Matters reported on emerging models and trends in health care delivery reform and interviews with leaders in the field. Please read its successor, Transforming Care.

  • October/November 2012 Issue
Helping Patients Make Better Treatment Choices with Decision Aids

When patients are given decision aids, such as educational booklets, DVDs, or interactive tools, to help them make treatment choices, they are more knowledgeable and satisfied with their care. But the use of such aids as part of "shared decision making"—a communication approach that seeks to balance clinicians' expertise with patients' preferences—has until recently been limited to research trials. Now some health systems and public policymakers are supporting more widespread use of shared decision making in efforts to promote patient engagement, reduce inappropriate use, and control costs.

Q&A: Informing Medical Decisions
Quality Matters asked Richard Wexler, M.D., director of patient support strategies at the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation, to share his insights on the benefits and challenges of introducing patient decision aids and shared decision making in real-world clinical settings. 

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