Health Literacy Month Blog Series on Shared Decision Making

Hi Everyone, we'll be kicking off our annual health literacy blog series on Engaging the Patient. Watch for a new article every weekday in October. This year the focus is on the intersection of health literacy and shared decision making. We have a lot of great people contributing: like Peter Ubel, Corey Siegel, and Jan Prochaska. We'll also have a mini-series on health literacy and shared decision making around palliative care, hospice care, and end of life directives. I'll post links to articles here, but you're also welcome to subscribe to the blog, and then you'll get notifications every time a new article posts. Please also participate. Comments, discussions are all welcome.

Here's the info:

Geri Lynn Baumblatt


Please see recent posting Shared Decision Making—The Patient's Perspective which includes a brief video for patients from the Informed Medical Decision Foundation.The Foundation's website offers a wealth of information, tools, and resources, including videos of patients and providers discussing their experiences with shared decision making. I hope you find the info useful. Mary

Using the Transtheoretical Model to Promote Health Literacy and Shared Decision-Making

The passage of the Affordable Care Act and emergence of Patient Centered Medical Homes and Accountable Care Organizations has highlighted the need for expanding the patient role in treatment decisions, health care, and chronic care disease management through informed choice and shared decision-making. But this is a movement that has been steadily building for several years.

Read the full article here:

Great article today on the challenges of finding the right voice and tone for an audience when helping patients make decisions or change health behaviors:

We live in an age of patient empowerment.  Medical students are now routinely taught that the “right choice” often depends on patient preferences—on how an individual patient weighs the pros and cons of her treatment alternatives.  That means medical decisions depend, more than ever, on good communication. Physicians need to help patients understand their choices so that they can partner with their patients in discovering the best alternatives, ones personalized to fit each patient’s individual preferences.

But helping patients understand their treatment choices is often no simple matter.

Read the article here:

Holly Witteman writes:

My first week at my new job at a French-speaking university in a city of 95% francophones, I learned a useful new expression: vouloir le beurre, et l’argent du beurre. This translates literally as, ‘to want the butter, and the butter money.’ It’s the equivalent of wanting to have your cake, and eat it, too, but with a more explicit focus on dairy fat. (It is a French expression, after all.)

This idiom is especially useful to me because it succinctly describes what is at the heart of my research: how to help people deal with tradeoffs.

Read the full article here:

Oh how I have been waiting for this topic to make its way to the Health Literacy forum (and if I've missed it previously, my bad).

I first realized how little I know (and understand )about options at life's end whilst lurking on the hospice and palliative medicine tweetchat (#hpm, Wednesday 9pmE)There,  impassioned pleas from the healthcare professionals dedicated to a dignified end of life: 'if only people talked about it, so much grief could be avoided.'   Their other lament: 'pallitive care is misunderstood. (I'm sure the amazing Diane Maier was one of the participants).'

From those chats Iearned it wasn't just me - a non health care professional - who  found it hard to talk about, and were mis or under-informed about palliative and hospice care:  It's not a comfortable topic even with healthcare professionals.

And so I began my own journey of discovery... blogged about it and include the range of super extremely helpful resources as (often) provided by the #hpm-ers and then the other tweetchat's devoted to life's end: Death with Dignity (#DWDchat) and End of Life Chat (#EOLchat)

My blog's and through my search and research have learned about the PATH approach (Palliative and Theraputic Harmonization) and the Dignity Model - both huge patient centered, speak in plain language approaches to end of life .

I now have a much better understanding when when I would and wouldn't want, for example , artificial nutrition, breathing machine, CPR; how decisions can/should be different for the hale and healthy, and the frail elderly.  Waaaay more than just a DNR.

and much to my delight: BestEndings is going to be incoporated into several hospitals' EHRs

Yay! the conversations happening all over the digital universe!

Enthusiastically and appreciatively yours,

Kathy Kastner


Dr. Kirsner asked me about my grandmother.  “I remember your grandmother,” he said.  “She was in a clinical trial we had using steroids for Crohn’s disease”. Everybody remembered Dr. Kirsner, but could Dr. Kirsner really remember a patient from 35 years ago? You bet he did.  And he remembered so many other patients too. 

Every day for the past 6.5 years, I’ve worked with a team of great people to try to reach journalists and the public they serve to try to improve the public dialogue in the U.S. about health care.

Even a casual observer should be able to see the connection with health literacy concerns in what we do. If the tsunami of stories that wash over the American public every day about claims for treatments, tests, products and procedures are not presented in a clear, understandable way with accuracy, balance and completeness, people will not be able to use that information.

Read the full article here: