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Doctors Often Wouldn't Follow Their Own Advice: Study
Date:4/11/2011

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, April 11 (HealthDay News) -- When faced with a choice of treatments, primary care doctors often choose a different option than they would recommend to their patients, a new study finds.

In fact, physicians who were surveyed in the research more often chose a treatment in which they were more likely to have long-term repercussions, such as paralysis, than to die.

But when it came to advising their patients, doctors were more likely to urge the treatment with a greater chance of death vs. the one with non-lethal adverse effects, say researchers publishing their findings in the April 11 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

"It's a pretty clear message: There's a discrepancy between what doctors recommend to their patients and to themselves," said Dr. Timothy Quill, author of an accompanying editorial in the journal.

"We need to try to reconcile that and make sure decisions are guided by patient values. We need to know what patients' values are, particularly in value-laden decisions," added Quill, who is director of the Center for Ethics, Humanities and Palliative Care at the University of Rochester Medical Center. "Decisions need to be guided by patients' values, not doctors'."

The study's lead author agreed. "Doctors and patients both need to just be aware that advice giving is not as neutral as they think," said Dr. Peter A. Ubel, a physician and behavioral scientist at Duke University in Durham, N.C. "This is not just about experts handing down expertise. It fundamentally changes the way people weigh risks and benefits. A better approach would be for both of the groups, doctors and patients, to have a better discussion of what matters to the patient."

In the study, Ubel and his colleagues presented one of two different treatment-decision scenarios to primary care physicians in the United States.

For the first scenario, 242 doctor
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