A foremost goal of American medicine for the 21st century to improve the quality of health care is individualized, patient-centered care. The recommended means to achieve this care is shared decision-making, a conversation process in which the physician communicates information to the patient about diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment options and the patient communicates to the physician about his or her history, values, and treatment preferences. Together, the two share responsibility in reaching a common understanding of the patient’s preferred treatment course. This process has been called “the pinnacle of patient-centered care” (1).
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