Understanding An Informed Publics Views On The Role Of Evidence In Making Health Care Decisions
Author: Kristin L. Carman, Maureen Maurer, Rikki Mangrum, Manshu Yang, Marjorie Ginsburg, Shoshanna Sofaer, Marthe R. Gold, Ela Pathak-Sen, Dierdre Gilmore, Jennifer Richmond, Joanna Siegel
Policy makers and practitioners increasingly believe that medical evidence plays a critical role in improving care and health outcomes and lowering costs. However, public understanding of the role of evidence-based care may be different. Public deliberation is a process that convenes diverse citizens and has them learn about and consider ethical or values-based dilemmas and weigh alternative views. The Community Forum Deliberative Methods Demonstration project, sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, obtained informed public views on the role of evidence in health care decisions through seventy-six deliberative groups involving 907 people overall, in the period August–November 2012. Although participants perceived evidence as being essential to high-quality care, they also believed that personal choice or clinical judgment could trump evidence. They viewed doctors as central figures in discussing evidence with patients and key arbiters of whether to follow evidence in individual cases. They found evidence of harm to individuals or the community to be more compelling than evidence of effectiveness. These findings indicate that increased public understanding of evidence can play an important role in advancing evidence-based care by helping create policies that better reflect the needs and values of the public.