The importance of the study, says lead investigator Donna E. Stewart, M.D., of University Health Network and University of Toronto, is that patients tend to recover better when they have more information and are more involved in their own treatment decisions. The article appears in the current issue of Psychosomatic Medicine.
Stewart suggests wider dissemination among health professionals, especially doctors, of data regarding "the beneficial effects of patient involvement in decision-making on health outcomes."
"Because providing more information and meeting preferences for decisional roles may result in better self-efficacy, patient satisfaction and preventive health behavior in the year after (an acute heart disease), clinicians must do better," Stewart says.
Despite a clear preference for sharing decision-making with the doctor, more than half the patients reported that the doctor made the main decision and 35 percent said the doctor did not seriously consider their opinion.
In the study, more than 500 patients who had been hospitalized in 12 coronary intensive care units in Ontario for either heart attack or unstable angina were asked six months and again one year after treatment for their impression of how much they participated in medical decision-making and how much information they wanted and received from doctors, nurses and other health care providers.
Both men and women scored 4.34 on a five-point scale indicating their desire for information about managing their condition. But when asked their perception of the amount of information they did receive, after six months the average score was 3.63, with men significantly more positive in their assessment than wom
Contact: Dr. Donna Stewart
Center for the Advancement of Health