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Academia and the Profession |

How Decisions are Reached: Physician and Patient

STEPHEN A. ERAKER, M.D., M.P.H.; and PETER POLITSER, M.D., Ph.D.
[+] Article and Author Information

Grant support: in part from the Veterans Administration to Dr. Eraker, and from grant LM03366 from the National Library of Medicine and from grant HS04726 from the National Center for Health Services Research to Dr. Politser.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Stephen A. Eraker, M.D., M.P.H.; Department of Medicine, Veterans Administration Medical Center, 2215 Fuller Road; Ann Arbor, MI 48105.


Ann Arbor, Michigan


© 1982 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1982;97(2):262-268. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-97-2-262
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How can physicians consider patient preferences in reaching medical decisions? Physicians may intuitively agree about the importance of considering all significant aspects of alternative therapies, including patient preferences. However, it may be difficult to resolve or quantitate critical trade-offs between benefit and risk, and quality and quantity of life. One way to do this is decision analysis, a systematic approach to decision making under conditions of uncertainty. Behavioral research involving the assessment of values and probabilities may bear on the adequacy of decision analysis and help us to better understand patient preferences in clinical decisions.

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