Patients have always been at the very core of the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation. We believe that patients should be informed and engaged in their health care. We always speak to patients first before creating a decision aid in order to learn from their experience in making a health care decision, and to understand what they wish they had known about their options. With every decision aid we work on, we conduct focus groups at several levels of the creation process. We take what the patients have to say during the focus groups very seriously and always take their opinions into account.
In preparation for an upcoming decision aid, the patient perspective team recently did a focus group on provider choice and birth setting for maternity. They spoke with women who had already had at least one child so we could learn from their experiences. A large part of the session was spent on finding out what kind of provider the women chose and why. We were struck once again by the fact that our focus group participants have different personal preferences. In this case, while some sought out midwives to lead their provider care team, others felt more comfortable with their provider being an OB-GYN. When we asked the group to respond to messages that would help other women understand they have a choice, the women were very engaged in giving feedback about how best to express this. The general consensus was that they wanted information they can trust and to be supported in making choices that are right for them.
Each focus group we conduct reinforces the importance of our mission and inspires us to continue empowering patients to become active participants in their health care.