How treatment options are presented strongly impacts patients’ decision-making

How information is presented to a patient makes a difference in health decisions

News-Medical: February 23, 2012.

A paper from Rhode Island Hospital and Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit examines whether different presentation formats, presenter characteristics, and patient characteristics affect decision-making for patients requiring treatment for asymptomatic carotid stenosis. Based on the study, the researchers concluded that how the treatment options are presented to a patient strongly impacts patients’ decision-making, while the patient’s age, gender, and education level may also influence the decision. The study was recently published in the journal Neurology.

Lead author and principal investigator, Brian Silver, M.D., is a neurologist and the director of the Stroke Center at Rhode Island Hospital. Silver and his colleagues looked at asymptomatic carotid stenosis, a condition in which there is an abnormal narrowing of the carotid artery without any symptoms. The goal of treatment is to reduce the risk of stroke and can include medications with or without surgery.

Silver and his colleagues devised a study to present treatment options in different formats to the patient. To evaluate decision-making outcomes, 409 subjects watched a randomly selected video of 20 possible options, and completed a survey on the decision to have surgery. Read More