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Patient Participation Affects Medical Decision Making

Increased patient involvement may lead to decreased willingness to undergo risky treatment

TUESDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with increased responsibility for medical decision making may be less likely to accept risky treatment options, according to a study in the Dec. 15 issue of Arthritis Care & Research.

Liana Fraenkel, M.D., of the Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., and a colleague studied 216 subjects (mean age, 59 years) who viewed videos on two new hypothetical medications for the prevention of heart disease and the treatment of chronic pain. Subjects were informed that the medications were effective, but that each was associated one serious side effect.

After measuring subjects' willingness to take the drugs under scenarios that either maximized or minimized patient involvement in decision making, the researchers found that maximized involvement was associated with a decreased likelihood of accepting the drug and increased worry about the potential side effect.

"While this study used hypothetical scenarios and presented extremes of patient involvement, given previous work demonstrating the effect of voluntary appraisals on risk perception, clinicians should be aware that promoting increased patient responsibility for decisions involving their health care may be associated with lower uptake of risky procedures or interventions," the authors conclude.

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