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Choosing Own Medical Treatment Tends To Be Conservative

A new study finds that when individuals actively choose their own medical treatments, they tend to select lower-risk procedures.

Yale researchers report their findings in the journal Arthritis Care & Research.

The 216 subjects of the Yale study were told about hypothetical new medications that would either prevent heart disease or treat chronic pain.

These hypothetical treatments were said to be very effective, well tolerated and covered by insurance, but participants were also told that they carried an extremely rare risk of a serious side effect related to rheumatic disease.

The test subjects were then divided into two groups. Those in one group were told that the doctor felt that they should take the medication and gave the patient a prescription.

Subjects in the second group were told that the decision to take the medication was completely up to them.

Worry about the risk involved was significantly greater, and the willingness to take the medication significantly lower, in those subjects who were told the choice was theirs than in those who were given a prescription.

“This study shows that when patients take responsibility for choosing treatments that involve potential risk, they are more cautious than those who do not,” according to lead author Liana Fraenkel, M.D., M.P.H. of Yale School of Medicine and the V.A. Connecticut Health care System.

She believes this is a good thing for health care, saying, “Having knowledgeable and highly engaged patients making informed decisions is a requirement for ensuring high-quality health care and decreasing unwarranted variability in the delivery of health care services.”

Source: Yale University

Choosing Own Medical Treatment Tends To Be Conservative

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Choosing Own Medical Treatment Tends To Be Conservative. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 15, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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