According to the dictionary, Informed choice is when a person is given options based on known information. In the medical world, that means he or she is able to choose among available approved diagnostic tests or treatments, knowing the details, benefits, risks and expected outcome of each.
This information should be easy to understand, and include not only benefits and risks, but also potential harms. The discussion should elicit a patient’s goals and values and a provider’s input should provide impartial help, but leave decision making to the patient.
This thought and discussion process is applicable in many medical instances. It applies to medical treatments such as medications, surgeries, vaccinations, lab tests, imaging, and others. It should take into account not only a patient’s beliefs and experience, but also their best interests. It takes time and expertise. It’s one of those times when the term ‘patient’ actually means that both parties involved need to slow down and actually exhibit patience before moving ahead.
There are four components of medical informed choice. It involves a patient’s capacity to make a decision, full disclosure on the part of a provider, the competency of that provider to impart the medical information necessary, and finally the documentation of the decision reached. It is not a procedure to be rushed or ignored. It requires respect granted and given by both parties. Some medical practices apply algorithms and formulas using statistics to dictate actions. Facts are good, and important to consider, but sometimes, personal beliefs or situations can alter outcomes.
At IFM, we believe that you deserve to be treated with respect, and that includes decisions that need to be made about your medical care! You are an individual. Sometimes, algorithms don’t apply. At IFM, we listen.