Dr. Michael J. Barry, president of the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation and Susan Edgman-Levitan, Foundation board member, are co-authors on a New England Journal of Medicine Perspectives article published today. In the article “Shared Decision Making – The Pinnacle of Patient-Centered Care,” the authors explain that although advances in medicine continue to improve outcomes for patients as a whole, they can also leave patients and their families feeling disconnected from the decision making process and overwhelmed by their options.
“…The most important attribute of patient-centered care is the active engagement of patients when fateful health care decisions must be made — when an individual patient arrives at a crossroads of medical options, where the diverging paths have different and important consequences with lasting implications.”
- Michael J. Barry, MD, and Susan Edgman-Levitan, PA
The authors outline the extensive body of research that shows that not involving patients in decisions about their care can have a detrimental effect on both the quality of care received and patient safety. The authors urge clinicians to “relinquish their role as the single, paternalistic authority, and train to be more effective partners and coaches.”