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Patient-Centered Decision Making Ups Health Outcomes

FRIDAY, April 19 (HealthDay News) -- Patient-centered decision making (PCDM) is associated with improved health care outcomes, according to a study published in the April 16 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Saul J. Weiner, M.D., from the Jesse Brown Veterans Affairs Medical Center and University of Illinois at Chicago, and colleagues examined whether encounters involving PCDM are associated with improved health care outcomes compared with encounters characterized by inattention to patient context. Seven hundred seventy-four patients audio recorded encounters with their 139 resident physicians; these were screened for contextual red flags such as deteriorating self-management of a chronic condition. When a contextual factor was identified, physicians were scored based on their adaptation of the care plan to address the issue.

Of the 548 contextual red flags, 208 contextual factors were confirmed, and outcome data were available for 157. The researchers found that physician attention to contextual factors (asking about them and addressing them in care plans) varied based on the presenting contextual factor. Health care outcomes improved in 71 percent of the 96 contextual factors that were addressed by PCDM and in 46 percent of the 61 factors that were not addressed by PCDM (P = 0.002).

"These findings suggest that an emphasis on promoting and assessing PCDM may be a productive strategy for advancing patient-centered health care outcomes," the authors write.

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