You can’t be well empowered if you hear advice wrong. That’s why, in a participatory relationship, an essential skill is accurate handoff of information.

The Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making, catchily pronounced “fimdim,” has been working for years to improve patients’ knowledge of options and alternatives. In today’s Boston Globe Liz Cooney talks with people from FIMDM about the issue. Excerpt:

What doctors explain and what patients understand might be two very different things, recent research suggests.

Ideally, patients talk with their doctors about the pros and cons of a particular treatment, weighing the risks and benefits, exploring alternatives — including doing nothing — and then come to a conclusion. That’s the goal of the informed consent process, best known by the paperwork patients sign at the end saying they heard doctors describe what they may be getting into.

If only it were that simple.

Today’s article springboards off Cooney’s piece two weeks ago on heart stents, reported here by Dr. John Grohol as Doctors Say One Thing, Patients Hear Another.

A Boston non-profit, FIMDM is the force behind Gary Schwitzer’s excellent Health News Review service, which analyzes health news in the media, teaching e-patients and policy people to sift the gold from the garbage.

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