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Critical Decisions: How You and Your Doctor Can Make the Right Medical Choices Together

. September 2012. 368p. 978-0-06210-382-6. 26.99.
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As Ubel (business administration & medicine, Duke Univ.; Free Market Madness: Why Human Nature Is at Odds with Economics—and Why It Matters) explains, while doctors are trained to diagnosis symptoms and recommend treatment, many are not trained in communication. This fact is at odds with a growing movement to encourage patients to work proactively with their physicians to determine their options. Ubel, a behavioral scientist and physician, uses examples, case studies, and personal accounts to explore the patient/doctor relationship. The process of making medical decisions is considered from the perspective of the patient and the physician. A doctor may believe he or she is explaining a condition or treatment option clearly, notes Ubel, but may nevertheless be unconsciously giving a biased opinion or using terminology the patient does not understand. Meanwhile, the patient may be too overwhelmed to ask for clarification. The section “Eight Tips To Help You and Your Doctor Make Better Decisions Together” consolidates the author’s advice and makes for a helpful review before a visit to the doctor.
VERDICT Written with clarity and a touch of humor, this is a quick and thoughtful read, a good choice for patients, and a must for medical professionals.
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