Evaluating preference-sensitive care for uterine fibroids: it's not so simple
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BACKGROUND: Preference-sensitive care decisions should reflect an informed patient's preferences. This retrospective survey of women with fibroids, a benign condition with multiple treatment options, sought to evaluate the extent to which this was measurable and true. METHODS: All 260 women in one medical group with visit codes for uterine fibroids during a 9-month period in 2006 were mailed surveys constructed through focus groups with physicians and interviews with patients. Correlations tested associations among their preferences, knowledge, and treatment decisions. RESULTS: The adjusted response rate was 82%, but only 100 respondents fit all criteria for analysis. Nearly all wanted to either share or control the decision, and 86% felt informed, satisfied, and that the decision was consistent with their values. However, only 55% of patients could answer at least five of seven fibroid questions correctly. Hysterectomy use was significantly correlated with desire to relieve symptoms, have a permanent treatment, and do something right away (r = 0.36, 0.37, and 0.30, respectively). Those deciding not to treat were significantly less likely to have these preferences (r = -0.65, -0.40, and -0.58). These relationships were not affected by patient knowledge level, but patients with high knowledge scores were significantly more likely to believe their decision was concordant with their preferences (94.9% vs. 74.4%, p < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: There were knowledge gaps but unclear associations between knowledge and decision-preference relationships for this condition, which has many different treatment alternatives. A prospective intervention trial is needed to determine if better information and counseling would produce stronger concordance between treatment selected and patient preferences.
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