choosingWhen you choose to buy a new television you do some research, right?

Will it fit in your space? Is it high definition? Do you want/need 3D? Are you willing to pay more for TV-based wireless internet, or would you rather save some money?

What if someone gave you the television that they thought you should have because in their experience it is the best one?

Considering this: some clinicians believe patients should have the same luxury to participate in selecting treatments for their ailments as they have in choosing appliances.

Suppose one of your patients has been diagnosed with Type II Diabetes Mellitus. Perhaps their medication compliance is less than satisfactory or they are newly diagnosed and have yet to be assigned medication. Consider that they may be more likely to comply if they have participated in the medication regimen selection(1).

This is an example of shared-decision making. Google it as there are some shared decision making tools out there.

If you like the way that sounds (the patient being more likely to comply and therefore more likely to have better control of their diabetes), consider it for your own practice.

For example, if you like the “compare” feature on an electronics website for selecting a TV, Medication Choice Cards (2) from the Mayo Clinic list several potential diabetes medications with a matrix of considerations for patients (times per day, typical outcome, weight gain considerations, etc).  A practitioner, rather than just prescribing “the usual,” can engage the patient in deciding on a medication.  It may not be your first choice as a provider, but patients bring different points of view and should be encouraged to choose the TV… er… medicine that’s right for them.  Check it out.

Written by guest blogger Meredith Masel, PhD, MSW. Oliver Center for Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare


  1. Weingarten SR, Henning JM, Badamgarav E, et al. Interventions used in disease management programmes for patients with chronic illness-which ones work? Meta-analysis of published reports. BMJ. 2002;325:925.

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