The American Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ) follows closely on the heels of the push for shared decision-making and is a part of the US Department of Health and Human Services. The goal of American AHRQ is to make healthcare “safer, higher quality, more accessible, equitable, and affordable, and to work within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and with other partners to make sure that the evidence is understood and used.” Part of their process in achieving these goals is to help hospitals implement shared decision making.
To do this, they developed a five-step process.
1. Seek your patient's participation
2. Help your patient explore and compare treatment options
3. Assess your patient's values and preferences
4. Reach a decision with your patient
5. Evaluate your patient's decision
I designed the "Your Heart House," book to be a tool in the arsenal of both doctors providing care and patients seeking to participate in their health plan.
Shared Decision Making for Patients
Right now, the majority of the shared decision-making and AHRQ material is geared only towards doctors. With heart disease killing upwards of 600,000 people each year in the US alone, the lack of comprehensible patient education material is both shocking and irresponsible. Patients are left in the dark about their own health, fearing the worst possible outcomes, and doctors are left struggling to communicate complicated ideas to uneducated populations. Artisan’s Approach to Your Heart seeks to remedy this by bridging the gap between medical jargon and patient fear, giving the power back to patients. “Doctors and patients need to find a path towards cooperation.”
Artisan’s Approach creates a clear and concise path towards shared decision-making, giving doctors the power to direct patients to pointed relevant information on the physiology of the heart and helping them understand the many complex factors that are considered when devising a treatment plan. Patients will be able to equip themselves with knowledge about their own heart and learn about treatment options.
How You Can Understand Your Heart
Each part of the book is designed to break down the essentials of the heart by reviewing the physiology, common problems, causes of dysfunction, and treatments. Patients can effectively become novice cardiologist in order to participate in their own care. This book is not meant to take the place of professional medical care, but rather to allow patients to develop opinions and values around their care that will improve their health outcomes. When patients help in the decision-making process, they are more likely to comply with doctors’ orders. Often, I find that patients have long held beliefs and values about their health and what kind of care they should and should not receive. When they stick to values that contradict medical science, the results can be detrimental to the patient’s health. Similarly, doctors who disregard patient wishes can also be dangerous because the patient will be less likely to seek help from those doctors or follow their orders. This book helps break down the communication barrier, helping both parties reach the middle ground to reach greater health outcomes.