Posts made in March, 2010

Asthma Patients’ Participation in Treatment Choices Improves Outcomes

Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making Funds Sites Around the Country

Boston, MA and Palo Alto, CA – The Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF), the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI) and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) recently received one of a handful of grants from the Boston-based Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making. PAMF, a multispecialty medical group in the San Francisco Bay Area, will serve as the clinical site and PAMFRI and UCSF will coordinate the research aspect of the project.

The one-year, $200,000 grant will fund efforts at PAMF to explore the best ways to use innovative audio-visual decision aids, such as DVDs, to improve the ability of patients to partner with their physicians to make complex medical decisions. PAMF is one of a number of demonstration sites across the country that are part of a national effort by the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making to make patients full participants in their own health care decisions.

“We are pleased to be working with health care organizations such as PAMF, PAMFRI and UCSF who are committed to changing the face of health care by inviting patients to play an active role, working with their providers, in deciding what care is best for them,” said Michael Barry, M.D., president of the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making.

Each year, the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making funds organizations it believes have the greatest commitment to patient-centered care and the infrastructure to make decision aids part of daily medical practice. The decision aids, co-produced with Health Dialog and created with the assistance of world-class medical experts in a variety of specialties, consist of booklets and DVDs that thoroughly examine a patient’s treatment options and include real patients discussing their choices. Each demonstration site incorporates the decision aids into the physician/patient relationship in its own way to foster what is now known as a “Shared Medical Decision Making” process.

“We are very excited about this funding,” said Harold Luft, Ph.D., director of PAMFRI. “It will allow us to begin building a system that enhances the information we give our patients and their ability to participate fully in their own health care.”

With the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making grant, project leaders will fund a point person (a shared decision-making navigator) who will communicate with patients referred by health care providers about their preferred method for receiving information for shared decision-making. Patients will have several options for accessing the decision aids. They will be able to view the DVDs at PAMF’s Palo Alto Community Health Resource Center and speak with an on-site nurse about their questions. Patients will also have the option of borrowing the DVDs from the Resource Center or receiving them by mail to view at home before speaking with a nurse or physician by phone. Some patients may also choose to join others with similar conditions in scheduled shared medical appointments during which they can view the decision-making aids and speak with physicians or nurses.

Other recent grant recipients include Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, White River Junction VA Medical Center; Pittsburgh VA Health Care System; Massachusetts General Hospital – John D. Stoeckle Center for Primary Care Innovation; Mercy Clinics Inc. (Des Moines, Iowa); Oregon Rural Practice-Based Research Network; The Stillwater Medical Group; and the University of North Carolina Sheps Center for Health Services Research.

To view more detailed summaries of all the grant recipient projects, go to

To view a sample of a decision aid video, go to

To learn more about the Foundation, the portfolio of decision aids and research demonstrating the need for an informed and involved patient, visit http:/