Shared Decision-Making Could Affect Patients’ View of Fault, Liability

Involved Patients 80% Less Likely to Seek Legal Counsel

Shared decision-making can significantly lower the likelihood of patients filing lawsuits and complaints, according to a recent study in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Researchers enlisted 800 study participants, who were surveyed after completing decision-making vignettes for an appendicitis scenario.

Participants who engaged in shared decision-making were 80% less likely to want a lawyer than participants who did not engage in the decision-making. Regardless of whether the level of shared decision-making was cursory or intense, participants had more trust in their physicians, rated them more highly, and were less likely to blame them for an adverse outcome compared to participants who were not involved in any shared decision-making. 

The researchers say there are three main obstacles for clinicians when it comes to shared decision-making: finding the time to have conversations with patients; viewing shared decision-making as unsuitable because the options are not all prudent; and assuming that their patients don’t want to be involved in making decisions.

Often, although clinicians may select what they feel to be the best medical option for patients, they may not have considered the possible effects for a particular patient, particularly if his or her preferences are unknown.

Also, although clinicians often assume that some patients don’t want to be involved in shared decision-making, patients usually prefer to be involved when they understand the consequences.

Source: MedPageToday, January 27, 2019