Shared Decision Making Picks Up Steam at UCLA | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Shared Decision-Making Picks Up Steam at UCLA

August 25, 2014
by Rajiv Leventhal
| Reprints

Patient-education tools such as online surveys and videos have helped clinicians at UCLA take on shared decision-making in various treatment areas, according to the university.

Shared decision-making is a concept that’s gaining traction in medicine, particularly in areas of healthcare, where patients are presented with more than one reasonable treatment option. The programs, which feature patient-education tools such as online surveys and videos, have several goals, according to a UCLA news release.

One is to help people thoroughly understand their choices and assure them that they are making informed decisions. Another major objective is to curb healthcare costs by sometimes steering people away from expensive treatments that are unlikely to result in better health or improved patient satisfaction.

UCLA’s Department of Urology began offering a shared decision-making tool for men with prostate cancer in 2013. Department staff plug in data about the patient’s diagnosis, such as the “aggressiveness” score of the tumor, test results, age, race and other medical conditions—all things that could affect the treatment decision. After the patient completes a 15-minute survey regarding his preferences, the resulting report is sent to the doctor ahead of the scheduled consultation, during which the physician and patient meet to discuss the options.

An even-more-elaborate shared decision-making program is underway at UCLA for patients with painful chronic conditions, such as hip or knee arthritis, spinal stenosis or herniated disc. UCLA is one of 20 participants in a national study on shared decision-making called the High Value Healthcare Collaborative. Funded by the national Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and led by the research team at Dartmouth, the study is a rigorous test of the potential benefits of shared decision-making.

Study participants watch a video that was produced for the study. The video depicts actual patients who discuss their condition and how they arrived at their various choices. The video describes treatment options and the pros and cons of each. After watching the video, patients participate in a 45-minute-telephone or in-person discussion with a health coach who helps them distill the information.

After the session, the health coach enters notes in the patient’s file to inform the physician of which treatment option the patient is leaning toward. But no decision is made until the doctor and patient confer.

Ultimately, shared decision-making cuts through biases and crystallizes important issues for both doctor and patient, said Dr. Christopher Saigal, M.D., vice chair of urology at UCLA.  “Shared decision-making improves the decision-making processes for both parties,” he said in the news release. “It is a collaboration. The idea is not that the patient tells the doctor what to do — the doctor does have expertise and an opinion that has to be heard by the patient—but the patient is in charge of the decision. It’s his body.”

Topics

News

Dignity Health, CHI Merging to Form New Catholic Health System

Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), based in Englewood, Colorado, and San Francisco-based Dignity Health officially announced they are merging and have signed a definitive agreement to combine ministries and create a new, nonprofit Catholic health system.

HHS Announces Winning Solutions in Opioid Code-a-Thon

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) hosted this week a first-of-its-kind two-day Code-a-Thon to use data and technology to develop new solutions to address the opioid epidemic.

In GAO Report, More Concern over VA VistA Modernization Project

A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report is calling into question the more than $1 billion that has been spent to modernize the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) health IT system.

Lawmakers Introduce Legislation Aimed at Improving Medicare ACO Program

U.S. Representatives Peter Welch (D-VT) and Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) have introduced H.R. 4580, the ACO Improvement Act of 2017 that makes changes to the Medicare accountable care organization (ACO) program.

Humana Develops Medication Management Tool

A new tool developed by Humana enables the company’s members to keep a list of their medications in one place.

Four Hospitals Piloting OurNotes Initiative in 2018

Beginning in January, four academic hospitals—Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, University of Washington in Seattle, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire and University of Colorado in Boulder—will begin piloting a new digital tool called OurNotes that enables patients to contribute to their clinical notes.