Doctors are now inviting patients to help design their own medical treatment

In many hospitals and clinics around the [USA], oncologists and surgeons simply tell cancer patients what treatments they should have, or at least give them strong recommendations. But [at UC San Francisco], under a formal process called “shared decision making,” doctors and patients are working together to make choices about care.

“Not all doctors want to cede control to patients who have far less medical knowledge or who may be relying on information they got from friends and the Internet. Also, many physicians don’t have the time for long discussions and the health care system isn’t set up to pay for them.

Even so, hospitals and clinics in several other states, including Massachusetts, Minnesota and Washington, have created collaborative programs to ensure that information and concerns flow back and forth between patient and doctor. UCSF’s approach, in particular, has been a model for other programs around the nation.”

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