About the author:

Howard J. Luks, MD

Howard J. Luks, MD

A Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon in Hawthorne, NY. Dr. Howard Luks specializes in the treatment of the shoulder, knee, elbow, and ankle. He has a very "social" patient centric approach and believes that the more you understand about your issue, the more informed your decisions will be. Ultimately your treatments and his recommendations will be based on proper communications, proper understanding, and shared decision-making principles – all geared to improve your quality of life.

10 comments on “Analysis Paralysis In Healthcare Decision Making

  • Your article is Right On…Having RA, I found myself overwhelmed with information, but also hungry for it. As an empowered patient I have discovered one must discern from accurate and inaccurate information and the web has misinformation abound ! Physicians and Rheum Docs were pressed for time and did not offer anything more than the most basic of information. One of the most important things that helped me educate myself regarding my disease was just time and don’t believe everything you read. A patient can only stuff so much information in at once and they cannot expect all the answers to come from their practitioner in the first visit! But like Dr. Luks mentioned, patients need more content. Practical, accurate informational online content, with links to more detailed information for those who want to dig a little deeper. In my experience, as a patient with multiple chronic diseases, it is the not knowing that is sometimes worse than the disease itself! Thank you Dr. Luks for your blog post….

  • Great suggestions!

    One of the difficulties newly diagnosed cancer patients face is the reality of absorbing complex medical information at a time when their stress factor is very high. For other life-altering decisions — marriage, jobs, moves, etc — we usually have time in which to decide.

    A suggestion I offer: approach the diagnosis/information as a journalist might. Years ago there was a model of the “5 w’s and an ‘h” — which is easy to remember. Ask these questions: who, what, where, when, why and how.

    An area where I think physicians like you help enormously is in guiding patients in weighing information. The more we can continued to education people on a preventative basis, the easier the discussion can go (theoretically,anyway) when a health care decision needs to be made.

    Thanks for posting this. It’s an important conversation,

  • Hi Howard,

    I have just started following you on Twitter. I am in the UK and have a long term chronic kidney disease, inherited and incurable. I also chair the patient charity and manage the web, email, phone, Facebook, twitter comms.

    When first diagnosed in 1981, I went immediately to medical reference books and quickly learnt there was little I could do. I continued to use scientific/medical sources for years to check on disease and therapy progress, and started searching online in 1991. I interpreted what I read without physician involvement, and became an expert patient. Nonetheless, my disease has sometimes thrown me a googly, as we say here. But I have never felt the need to share or discuss my experiences with others with the disease.

    However, since being involved with the charity, I have seen how beneficial e-sharing is to some people: whether by email group, bulletin board, forum, Facebook, twitter. But what surprises me is how little attention is paid by professionals to the stories and experiences of patients on these platforms and channels. Patients express their frustration at lack of information, unempathic short consultations etc and reveal intimate details of their condition to strangers online they wld never share elsewhere. There is fantastic levels of trust in online patient groups.

    How best therefore to harness all these positive elements?

    • I really like your comment. Unempathic short consultations that don’t answer patients’ queries nor prepare them for the long period between consultations…Initiatives like PatientsOpinion help collect and harness patient suggestions.

  • Howard, thanks for the great post. Early adopters in the realm of #hcsm will have to lead us; and by “us” I mean the second wave of medical adopters, so that we can be as influential and appropriate in disseminating the information to the next generation of medical professionals.

  • Great article and a must read. Congratulations! Patients do qluckiy disseminate what’s valid vs. what’s harmful or wrong/irrelevant. Social Media is a great help in healthcare, for patients at least. I hope to see more medical professionals using it as a good education and patient support tool.

    • Thank you… medical decision making, health care literacy etc are all such important issues, not unlike shared decision making, etc. It’s all part of the communications equation — an absolute “must-have” if physicians are going to play an active role as a team member in a patient centric, patient friendly environment.
      Howard Luks

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