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Japanese physicians’ preferences for decision making in rheumatoid arthritis treatment

Authors Aoki A, Ohbu S

Received 29 August 2015

Accepted for publication 22 December 2015

Published 28 January 2016 Volume 2016:10 Pages 107—113


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Doris Leung

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Akiko Aoki,1 Sadayoshi Ohbu2

1Department of Rheumatology, Tokyo Medical University Hachioji Medical Center, 2Department of Sociology, Rikkyo University, Tokyo, Japan

Background: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a complex chronic illness requiring continued medical care. During the past decade, the therapeutic options for RA have increased significantly; these often have a higher risk of adverse effects and are more expensive than traditional drugs. Rheumatologists may hence face difficulties when deciding on the optimal modality in initiating or changing treatment. The aim of this study was to explore the Japanese physicians’ usual style of and preferences for decision making regarding RA treatment.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study conducted using an Internet survey. Respondents were asked about their usual style of making treatment decisions (perceived style), and their perception of the importance of physicians’ actions and patients’ attitudes.
Results: Of the 485 physicians who were sent the questionnaire, 157 responded completely (response rate: 32.3%). Ninety-two percent of the respondents were men, and 57% were clinicians with more than 20 years of experience. Their specialties were general medicine (29%), rheumatology (27%), orthopedics (31%), and rehabilitation (12%). Sixty-one (39%) stated that they usually presented multiple treatment options to their patients and selected a decision for them, 42 (27%) shared the decision making with their patients, 34 (22%) let their patients choose the treatment, and 20 (13%) made the treatment decision for the patients. Physicians using the shared decision making (SDM) style desired for their patients to have supportive family and friends, to discuss with nurses, and to follow the doctors’ directions more strongly compared with physicians using the other styles. There were no significant differences in sex, duration of clinical experience, major place of clinical work, and number of patients per month by the styles. More number of rheumatologists and physicians with specialist qualifications stated that they practiced SDM.
Conclusion: To enhance patient participation, physicians need to recognize the importance of discussing treatment options with patients in addition to giving them information.

Keywords: physician, decision making, rheumatoid arthritis

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