New research by the National Eczema Association has revealed the importance of patient input into treatment decisions.
An estimated 31 million Americans live with the inflammatory skin condition that causes dry skin, rashes, blisters, and skin infections. The disease often begins in childhood but can develop in teens or adults. Choosing the right treatment plan is often difficult due to the variations of the disease and different triggers that each patient may experience. New research by the National Eczema Association has revealed the importance of patient input into treatment decisions.
While there is no cure for eczema, there are dozens of treatments available and more on the horizon. The survey shows when patients and health care providers work together on a treatment plan, patients feel more comfortable as they can pick treatments that better align with their personal preferences and needs.
Shared decision-making is a practice in which a health care provider works with a patient or caregiver to incorporate their unique preferences and values into decisions about medically appropriate treatment options. From the survey results of 1313 patients and caregivers, investigators found that a "higher degree of involvement in shared decision making was significantly associated with higher consultation satisfaction." They also determined that "self-reported knowledge about the causes of eczema was associated with past and future shared decision making" and that "severity of the disease was inversely associated with past shared decision-making behavior."
In the survey, 49.6% of respondents stated they prefer to make their own decision after considering the doctor's opinion and 69.4% report being highly likely to engage in shared decision making in the future.
Several shared-decision making tools have been developed to support this decision-making process. Providers and patients work collaboratively within the tools to personalize options and expedite the process. This helps each patient remain more engaged in their own care and work together with doctors to improve the health outcome.
Additional findings and insights from this study are expected to be published soon.