This year has been an extremely busy one for our team at the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation. As we mentioned in February when we launched our brand refresh, our look may have changed but our commitment to amplifying the patient’s voice in medical decisions has not. And I believe that is evident in what we’ve accomplished this year. So I’d like to take a moment to highlight just a few of our accomplishments in 2012 and what we have to look forward to in 2013.
Read more about what we accomplished in 2012
Have you ever gone to a doctor’s visit and forgotten to ask an important question? Or maybe you were unsure what to ask in the first place? If so, you aren’t alone. That is why the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation has designed a patient worksheet to help individuals gather the information they need to feel confident that they have the facts before making an important medical decision.
Read more about a worksheet we developed for patients
The recent New England Journal of Medicine paper titled “Effect of Three Decades of Screening Mammography on Breast-Cancer Incidence” looks at thirty-two years of cancer statistics in the U.S. and comes to the startling conclusion that roughly 1.3 million women have been overdiagnosed with breast cancer.
Read more about the state of breast cancer overdiagnosis
The Dartmouth Atlas Project has released the first four of nine regional reports looking at the variation in elective surgery rates for 306 hospital referral regions across the U.S. The report shows that whether Medicare patients undergo elective surgery depends largely on where they live and the providers they see. Authors found that for many conditions, especially those where elective surgery is an option, the treatment a patient receives depends more on the physician’s recommendations than the patient’s preferences.
Read more about why where you live matters when it comes to health care
President Obama’s re-election now makes it all but certain that implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will progress. With a clearer picture of the health care landscape ahead of us, the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation and our colleagues will continue to pursue the opportunities laid out in the ACA to foster nation-wide implementation of shared decision making (SDM).
Read more about how we'll continue to pursue opportunities laid out in the ACA to support SDM
Over the last few weeks, I’ve spent a great deal of time engaging in thoughtful discussions about shared decision making (SDM) in a number of forums around the world. My travels began on the other side of the globe at the Australian Disease Management Association’s 8th Annual National Conference. This year’s theme was “Working Towards Integrated Chronic Disease Management”; topics of discussion included SDM, health literacy, evaluation, quality and safety, and consumer engagement. I had the opportunity to be part of a panel highlighting the quality imperative for involving patients in health care decisions though a SDM process.
Read more about how SDM is making waves across the continuum of care
Health literacy affects everyone. Imagine you are trying to order food in a foreign country and you don’t speak the language. Just like learning a foreign language, understanding health information is a challenge -- one that everyone will face at least once in his or her lifetime.
Read more about how we address health literacy in our decision aids
“We need to move past our hesitation in talking about dying and accept the fact that we are not immortal,” says Dr. Ira Byock, author of The Best Care Possible and director of palliative medicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. “Once we accept that fact, we can focus on how to provide the best care possible for those who are incurable.”
Read more about Dr. Ira Byock's book on end-of-life care
This month, a much anticipated study was published in Health Affairs that addresses something we are often asked at the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation: What are the effects of decision aids on utilization rates and medical costs? Researchers from Group Health Cooperative found that when decisions aids were used for patients making a decision about whether or not to have elective knee or hip replacement surgeries, there was a significant drop in surgical procedures as more patients opted for more conservative, less costly treatment options.
Read more about the effects of decision aids on elective surgery
This evening, PBS will air a special investigative report on the dangers of our current medical system. Money & Medicine takes us inside two world-renowned hospitals -- UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles and Intermountain Medical Center in Utah -- and shares first-hand stories of unnecessary medical spending, as well as effective methods for improving the overall quality of care and reducing cost
Read more about the PBS special "Money & Medicine"