Modern healthcare is all about cutting costs on existing approaches that retain effectiveness of treatment and, of course, increase recovery and survival rates with careful consideration of life quality. Shared decision making (SDM) in patient care is a logical solution to all of these issues and that is the reason why it’s getting more popular every year, especially in the United States and some of Europe.
So, what is shared decision making and why does it affect patients and the entire healthcare system? The answer is obvious: it’s a joint process which enables patients and their medical providers to make decisions on their healthcare together, considering scientific evidence and patient’s priorities and values. It is especially appropriate to exercise in cases when there is more than one option available in treating a particular condition, with all their risks and benefits. Choosing an optimal approach in such situations should not only depend on dry medical data but also on the patient’s personal preferences and life choices. This in fact helps patients become more aware of their current conditions, take part in a two-sided discussion of their treatment, better understand all of the available options and generally feel more empowered by being able to make a decision together with a physician. The patient feels better being part of the team who provides medical attention to them. As a result, the more patients are engaged with their treatment, the better care they can be granted with.
On the other hand, most of information available for people without medical degree can not be always sufficient or compared to the knowledge of the actual doctors. How do the patients make their decision if they don’t feel confident enough about choosing what is truly best for them? Innovative eHealth technology is there to help!
SDM tools developed to collect and analyze data can narrow down a difficult choice to one option that best fits patient as an individual with their own expectations and lifestyles. DECIDE Treatment is one of the decision aid solutions that Intersog has built to ease Norwegians’ therapy choice through technology. First of all, it’s safe in terms of keeping / transferring data, as it's strictly compliant with the HIPAA requirements and regulations.
Secondly, the tool is built in a user-friendly format where everyone is able to summarize various treatment research data and make a decision on the medical approach that is based on their individual life conditions and preferences. In addition, the app users can keep track of their health conditions over time as well as support scientific feasibility research of progressive treatment methods for stroke, lung disease, bipolar disorders and some other mental conditions affecting a lot of people in the world.
Bottom line is, a shared decision making process in healthcare faces many challenges on a regular basis. And even though in countries where it’s implemented SDM is supported by legal system and national healthcare agendas, there are still obstacles to overcome. On the other hand, as patient decision aid engines catch on and go mainstream (which is inevitable in the near future given the tech savvy and digital native millennial population that prefers eHealthcare to traditional healthcare) and medical software companies develop interesting use cases and gain first-hand experience with building, future-proofing and deploying technology that enables shared decision making, healthcare organizations will invest more in such technology development to foster mass adoption.