Temporal characteristics of decisions in hospital encounters: A threshold for shared decision making? A qualitative study

Eirik H. Ofstad, Jan C. Frich, Edvin Schei, Richard M. Frankel, Pål Gulbrandsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To identify and characterize physicians' statements that contained evidence of clinically relevant decisions in encounters with patients in different hospital settings. Methods: Qualitative analysis of 50 videotaped encounters from wards, the emergency room (ER) and outpatient clinics in a department of internal medicine at a Norwegian university hospital. Results: Clinical decisions could be grouped in a temporal order: decisions which had already been made, and were brought into the encounter by the physician (preformed decisions), decisions made in the present (here-and-now decisions), and decisions prescribing future actions given a certain course of events (conditional decisions). Preformed decisions were a hallmark in the ward and conditional decisions a main feature of ER encounters. Conclusion: Clinical decisions related to a patient-physician encounter spanned a time frame exceeding the duration of the encounter. While a distribution of decisions over time and space fosters sharing and dilution of responsibility between providers, it makes the decision making process hard to access for patients. Practice implications: In order to plan when and how to involve patients in decisions, physicians need increased awareness of when clinical decisions are made, who usually makes them, and who should make them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-222
Number of pages7
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Volume97
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014

Keywords

  • Hospital medicine
  • Medical decision making
  • Patient-physician communication
  • Physician behavior
  • Shared decision making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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