Headlines: October 6th, 2011

The NHS has launched a range of online tools to help patients learn more about their condition and the options for tests and treatments on conditions such as cataracts and breast cancer.

The tools have been developed by NHS Direct and they are available on their website for patients to use anywhere across England. Patients are able to see what choices are available to them, input their personal preferences and have an informed discussion with their clinician about their options. These tools do not replace a doctor’s clinical advice but are in addition to help patients prepare for a consultation and any decisions they make afterwards.

Dr Steven Laitner, General Practitioner and National Clinical Lead for Shared Decision Making said: “These tools have the potential to transform the lives of patients. Patients will of course still want and need to discuss treatment options with their clinicians but they will start from a more informed, more empowered position. We should allow patients to consider their own needs, personal values and priorities when making a decision about their treatment.

“This approach also benefits clinicians. Better informed patients can save time in the consultation and patients will be more likely to receive treatments which they highly value. It’s really about improving the experiences and outcomes for everyone involved.”