In 1621, just 40 miles south of the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation headquarters, the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag joined together to give thanks for the first successful harvest. Although today’s annual celebration is quite different from that first Thanksgiving, one thing remains the same — Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks. As this autumn holiday nears, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on the many blessings of 2013, as well as those of years past.
To our staff…Thank you for living and breathing our mission and vision every day. Your passion for what we do enables us to make a difference for patients, families and caregivers around the world.
To our co-founders…Thank you for asking the question “Why do rates of surgical procedures for prostate disease vary so much from one geographic location to another”? Your determination to address the issue of practice variation resulted in a simple truth: when patients are fully informed, they make choices that are more aligned with their preferences and values, which in turn leads to better health outcomes.
To our medical editors…Thank you for playing a crucial role in the development of our decision aids and for being change agents in health care. Your dedication to spreading shared decision making throughout the health care system continues to make quite the ripple.
To our researchers…Thank you for your interest in studying the various aspects of shared decision making, including how decisions are being made and how to activate and engage patients in their health care. Your findings have made major contributions to our understanding of shared decision making’s role in routine clinical practice.
To our Shared Decision Making Month contributors…Thank you for making the first ever SDM Month a success. Your participation demonstrates a passion for improving the quality of care that patients and their families receive, as well as the power of collaboration to change our complex and fragmented health care system.
To our focus group participants…Thank you for reinforcing the importance of our mission and vision, and inspiring us to continue empowering patients to become active participants in their health care. Your insight enables us to develop balanced and effective decision support materials.
To the Affordable Care Act…Thank you for recognizing the value of shared decision making in reforming our nation’s health care system. Your inclusion of shared decision making further illustrates its potential to positively impact quality of care, health outcomes and cost.
To the Dartmouth Atlas Project…Thank you for revealing that when it comes to health care, where you live matters. Your findings highlight the very real problem of geographic practice variation where, sadly, the treatment a patient receives depends more on the provider’s personal recommendation than the patient’s preferences.
To the American College of Physicians, the American Urological Association, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association…Thank you for endorsing the practice of shared decision making in your recent guidelines. Your endorsement helps ensure that more medical decisions will be based on both the best scientific evidence and the patient’s preferences.
To our shared decision making champions…Thank you for carrying the torch for shared decision making and proving that implementation in routine clinical practice is possible. Your enthusiasm, dedication and perseverance is truly inspiring.