Shared-decision making in general practice: do patients with respiratory tract infections actually want it?

Swiss Med Wkly. 2007 Aug 25;137(33-34):483-5. doi: 10.4414/smw.2007.11891.


Background: There is conflicting evidence on whether patients wish to be involved in medical decisions.

Methods: We interviewed 636 ambulatory patients with acute respiratory tract infections in cantons Basel-Stadt and Aargau. We asked whether they agreed with two statements that are the antithesis of shared-decision making. We used proportional odds regression to investigate how agreement with these two statements is associated with patient characteristics and with patient satisfaction and enablement.

Results: Many patients (66%) supported leaving decision making to their physician. These patients were more likely to be satisfied with the consultation and scored higher on enablement. Patients whose responses were consistent with a preference for shared-decision making were more likely to be younger, better educated and in more discomfort.

Conclusion: Patients consulting a general practitioner for acute respiratory tract infections should be invited to participate in decision making although many may choose to decline.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Decision Making*
  • Family Practice / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Outpatients / psychology*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires