Easing the Information Burden After Breast Cancer Diagnosis


Read the full story, published by The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice.

Image removed.(Photo by Aaron Adler)

Nearly 80 million Americans have basic or below basic health literacy, which makes navigating through large quantities of often-complex health information particularly challenging. But The Dartmouth Institute’s Assistant Professor Marie-Anne Durand, whose research focuses on shared decision-making, is helping health care providers better communicate with breast cancer patients with limited literacy or English proficiency.

Question: It seems as though shared decision making would be a “no brainer,” so to speak, and that every health system or organization would view it as critical to achieving better health outcomes. What are the obstacles that still exist to implementing shared decision-making?

Assistant Professor Marie-Anne Durand: Shared decision-making is becoming an important focus for health providers today. But, there are still obstacles to overcome, such as competing priorities, physician resistance, patient resistance or perceived resistance, and a false sense that it’s too time-consuming to implement, when in fact research shows that it can actually save time and improve outcomes.

I would add, too, that in order for shared decision making to be successful, it has to involve every point of contact in a health organization from the clinician to the person who greets patients at the reception desk. It’s not always easy to implement such a significant paradigm shift. It takes time.

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