Perception of risk and benefit in patient-centered communication and care
Healthcare Consulting, Staten Island, NY, USA
Abstract: There has been an increase in the adoption of patient-centered communication and accountable care that has generated greater interest in understanding patient perception of risk and benefit (PPRB). Patients find complex medical information hard to understand, resulting in inaccurate conclusions. Health behavior models describe the processes that individuals use to arrive at decisions concerning their own care. Studies have shown that their perception and decision making are associated with many factors such as age, gender, race, past experience, cost, and familiarity. Communication plays an important role in health literacy, and many adults are not proficient in the latter, regardless of their education. Clinicians have long provided educational materials but as our understanding of practitioner–patient communication and PPRB increased, so has the need for better ways to present medical advice and potential outcomes to the patient. Educational materials should be accessible, understandable, and actionable. They should have a reading level of grade 5 or 6, and where possible include graphical representations. New print and multimedia tools incorporate easier to understand summaries of risks and benefits, but they often need additional improvements. Patients frequently have a great desire to share in decision making regarding their health, and may prefer to do so in a collaborative fashion with their health care providers. A shared decision will have the patient’s input and promises better clinical outcomes as suggested by the literature; however, evidence from randomized controlled trials is scant. Additional studies should examine these and other types of outcomes. Patients tend to delegate decision making to clinicians in emergent or serious conditions. Practitioners need to have a positive communication style that engages patients in a shared decision making process and elicits the latter’s preferences. Clinicians and patients often have divergent views on desired interventions and outcomes, and providers should be aware of their personal biases.
Keywords: perception, risk, benefit, preference, patient-centered, communication
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