New Tools Help Patients Make Tough Decisions In the ER

From the Wall Street Journal:

Now, to help patients and families weigh the evidence and compare risks and benefits, hospitals are developing so-called shared decision-making aids tailored to emergency situations.

Shared decision-making is common in outpatient visits, where doctors may provide patients with pamphlets, interactive computer programs or risk calculators they can bring home and mull over, on topics such as whether to have an elective procedure or start a new medication. The ER, with its fast and often chaotic pace, has been considered the least-conducive environment for that type of collaboration between patients and doctors, even though there is no evidence it can’t work, says Erik Hess, associate professor and chair of research in the Dept. of Emergency Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

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