Health Dialog Connections

Shared Decision Making: Only 14% of Patients Would Disagree with Their Doctor's Advice

A patient examination improved by shared decision making tools

Great post this week from's Dr. Ishani Ganguli on the importance of shared decision making. In it, she cites the results of a recent patient survey:

"California-based researchers surveyed 1340 adult patients about a hypothetical scenario of deciding on a treatment for heart disease. Almost all of them reported that they’d be comfortable asking their doctors questions about the options (93%) and stating their preferences (94%). Good news so far. But only 14% said they would tell their doctors if their preferences clashed with the doctor’s advice – not because they couldn’t express this disagreement, the survey results suggested, but because they felt it was socially unacceptable to do so and wouldn’t end well. Many feared being seen as a difficult patient; others worried that they would hurt the doctor-patient relationship or would get in the way of their care."

That's why shared decision making is so important. Doctors may be the clinical experts, but the patient needs to be the expert of their own preferences. As Dr. Ganguli points out: "the idea that for medical decisions in which there is no clear right or wrong answer, doctors and patients should collaborate on choosing a path that best fits the patient's preferences. The success of this approach rests on the ability of patient and doctor to have a frank conversation."

Check out the post here and let us know what you think. Want to learn more about bringing Shared Decision Making to the point of care? Download our free whitepaper here.

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