Washington became the first state to endorse shared medical decisionmaking today when Gov. Christine Gregoire signed into law a broad measure that aims to bring affordable healthcare to Washington state residents.
Passage of the bill, which includes more than 20 initiatives, represents the first acknowledgment by a state legislature that medical outcomes can be improved by patient-doctor communication, according to the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making.
The legislation demonstrates Washingtons commitment to improving patients ability to make informed medical decisions by formally recognizing shared decisionmaking in the states laws on informed consent and encouraging collaborative efforts to develop, certify, use and evaluate decision aids, the foundation said in a news release.
Shared decisionmaking is defined as a process by which the physician shares with the patient all relevant risk and benefit information on all treatment alternatives while the patient shares with the doctor all relevant personal information. Proponents say numerous studies show that when decision aids such as brochures and online tools are available to patients and they have the ability to participate in decisionmaking, dialogue as well as patient well-being improves, according to the foundation.
Many of the provisions of the bill signed into law today were recommended by a blue ribbon commission on healthcare and address cost, quality and access to healthcare. -- by Cinda Becker