Health care information technology can provide mountains of data, but does that data help patients make better health care decisions? Do physicians and patients engage in the kind of dialogue that truly is shared decision-making?
his is supposed to be the Age of the Empowered Patient. Websites of all kinds offer evaluations of hospitals, physicians and other providers. Data reporting — mandatory and voluntary — is producing heaps of information that patients are supposed to use in their health care decisions.
Initiatives such as patient-centered care, accountable care organizations, report cards and high-deductible health plans all are designed to make patients more involved in their care, in the hope that having "skin in the game" (financially or otherwise) will lead them to make more rational choices. Shared decision-making by patients and providers together is all the rage among the pundits and theoreticians.
Is It Working?