Shared-decision making in general practice: do patients with respiratory tract infections actually want it?
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BACKGROUND: There is conflicting evidence on whether patients wish to be involved in medical decisions. METHODS: We interviewed 636 ambulatory patients with acute respiratory tract infections in cantons Basel-Stadt and Aargau. We asked whether they agreed with two statements that are the antithesis of shared-decision making. We used proportional odds regression to investigate how agreement with these two statements is associated with patient characteristics and with patient satisfaction and enablement. RESULTS: Many patients (66%) supported leaving decision making to their physician. These patients were more likely to be satisfied with the consultation and scored higher on enablement. Patients whose responses were consistent with a preference for shared-decision making were more likely to be younger, better educated and in more discomfort. CONCLUSION: Patients consulting a general practitioner for acute respiratory tract infections should be invited to participate in decision making although many may choose to decline.
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