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Over the past half century, rapid and demanding modes of change throughout healthcare have converted the physician into a “provider” and the patient into a “consumer.” Among the results of this transformation is a pervasive belief that primary authority over patient healthcare decisions, which had long been the domain of the physician, began to shift to the patient and, more recently, to proprietary healthcare organizations. Regardless of who has authority over certain decisions at any point throughout a given case, it is important that all relevant parties engage in informed decision making if they are to achieve a successful outcome.

Informed decision making is a process through which a person uses available information as a means to settling on how to accomplish a certain objective. In ...

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