How Can Patients Take More Leadership in Medical Decision-making?
One lesser-known element of the Affordable Care Act is its desire to encourage patients to take a greater role in medical decisions – not only their own, but more broadly as well. The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) funds research designed to identify mechanisms through which patients can take more leadership in this area.
RCLA Faculty Co-Director Erica Gabrielle Foldy is a member of a research team studying an effort to bring together a broad range of medical stakeholders – patients, primary care physicians, specialists and insurers – to see whether they can come to agreement on important, sometimes controversial, issues like guidelines for cancer screening.
The project, based at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, is using a team of professional mediators to see whether their efforts can enable patients to fully participate despite the highly technical aspects of the subject matter. The first year of the project focused on prostate cancer screening; the second year, which is currently underway, is addressing lung cancer screening.