Patient Values Must be Considered When Recommending Treatment

When selecting the best healthcare choice, customers should be able to select an option most closely aligned with their values. The same is true when seeking treatment for alcohol and drug addiction as the patient is more likely to respond successfully to care consistent with their views on life.

A recent Science Daily post examined the summary of two Internet studies conducted by Cheryl Carling and colleagues from the Norwegian Knowledge Center for the Health Services (Oslo, Norway). These studies were done to help researchers understand how information should best be presented to individuals when making choices about any type of health care or treatment.

In previous research, it was determined that when presenting treatment options to patients, the type of statistic used to illustrate risks and benefits of treatment can affect the patient’s choice. For instance, a patient is more likely to choose invasive therapy if the outcomes are presented in terms of chance of survival instead of chance of death.

Carling and colleagues conducted two different Internet studies to gather their data. Both trials found that as participants’ values change, their decision as to whether or not to seek specific treatment also changed. It was also determined that some ways of presenting information about risk were found to be more persuasive in motivating participants to opt for treatment, regardless of their values.

While these studies were limited in the fact that participants were more likely to be young and well-educated in comparison with the rest of the general population, they demonstrated that certain elements sway a patient toward one treatment decision over another.

In scenarios where patients are selecting addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one, it really is a life and death decision. Values must be considered before a decision can be made if the patient is to be successful in the treatment and in functional life following treatment.