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Ignoring patient treatment preferences can lead to misdiagnosis

When a patient is faced with a medical issue, many doctors recommend their preferred treatment instead of informing the patient of all their treatment options. According to a new BJM study, when providers ignore patient preferences in medical treatment, it can lead to misdiagnosis.

The study found that there is a gap between what patients prefer and what doctors think their patients want. Researchers cited the study's findings that physicians thought the most important issue for breast cancer patients was keeping their breast. In reality, the study found that only 7 percent of breast cancer patients considered this as their main concern.

The study also found the same disconnect between physicians and patients with benign prostate disease. Physicians recommended surgery for these patients but after the patients learned about the risks of sexual dysfunction, only 40 percent of the patients wanted to have the surgery.

Researchers concluded that to reduce the risk of misdiagnosis and patient dissatisfaction, physicians must inform their patients of all the risks and benefits of the different treatments available. The study stated that doctors are not able to accurately recommend the proper treatment if they do not know the patient's preferences.

It is very important that doctors inform their patients of all their treatment options. Ninety percent of patients want to be informed of their options instead of only hearing about their doctor's recommendation for treatment, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The researchers concluded that doctors need to make an effort to inform their patients of all the treatment options available. Instead of doctors making a recommendation to the patient, they should work closer with the patient to discuss and make a shared decision on the best treatment. They found that this will not only help reduce the rate of misdiagnosis but also ensure that patients have a better understanding of their medical condition and available treatment options.

Source: FierceHealthcare, "Ignoring patient treatment preferences leads to 'silent misdiagnosis'," Karen Cheung-Larivee, Nov. 9, 2012

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