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Do You Know Enough to Take That Medication? (Feb-11)

People in the U.S. make decisions about their health on a regular basis. For example,they are often asked to consider taking medication to treat common health problems, such as hypertension. But do patients have sufficient information to make these decisions? And what factors might influence the knowledge patients have, and their treatment decisions?

Consider this scenario:

Bob is a 52-year-old man who went to see his physician for a routine check-up. Bob’s doctor told him his cholesterol levels were slightly elevated and suggested cholesterol medication. Bob wondered how long he would have to take the medication, and whether there would be any side effects. Please answer the following two questions about cholesterol medications.

When people start taking cholesterol medications, how long is it usually recommended that they take them?

  • less than 6 months
  • 6-12 months
  • 1-3 years
  • for the rest of their lives

How do your answers compare?

Making an informed medical decision about whether to take cholesterol medications depends, at least in part, on understanding how long a medication should be taken and whether there are side effects. CBSSM investigators Angela Fagerlin, Mick Couper, and Brian Zikmund-Fisher recently published an article on patient knowledge from the DECISIONS study, a large survey of U.S. adults about common medical decisions. One main objective of the study was to determine adults’ knowledge about information relevant to common types of medication, screening, or surgery decisions they recently made. Data were collected from 2575 English-speaking adults aged 40 years and older who reported having discussed common medical decisions with a health care provider within the previous two years. Participants answered knowledge questions and rated the importance of their health care provider, family/friends, and the media as sources of information about common medical issues.

People taking cholesterol medications usually should take them for about 3 or more years, and perhaps even for the rest of their lives. A little more than 60% of the study respondents accurately identified the time to take cholesterol medications.

Many people have trouble with this question and do not know that muscle pain is the most commonly reported side effect of cholesterol medications. Only 17% of DECISIONS study respondents were able to answer this question correctly. About 1 in 5 respondents incorrectly identified liver problems as the most common side effect of cholesterol medications.

Overall, the investigators found that patient knowledge of key facts relevant to recently made medical decisions was often poor. In addition, knowledge varied widely across questions and decision contexts. For example, 78% of patients considering cataract surgery correctly estimated typical recovery time, compared to 29% of patients considering surgery for lower back pain or 39% of patients considering a knee or hip replacement. Similarly, in thinking about cancer screening tests, participants were more knowledgeable of facts about colorectal cancer screening than those who were asked about breast or prostate cancer. Respondents were consistently more knowledgeable on questions about blood pressure medication than cholesterol medication or antidepressants.

The impact of demographic characteristics and sources of information also varied substantially. For example, black respondents had lower knowledge than white respondents about cancer screening decisions and medication, even after controlling for other demographic factors. Researchers found no race differences for surgical decisions, however.

The authors concluded by noting that improving patient knowledge about risks, benefits, and characteristics of medical procedures is essential to support informed decision making.

For more information: 

Fagerlin A, Sepucha KR, Couper M, Levin CA, Singer E, Zikmund-Fisher BJ. Patients' knowledge about 9 common health conditions: The DECISIONS survey. Medical Decision Making 2010;30:35S-52S.

 

Reshma Jagsi will be a Keynote Speaker at “Strategies to Empower Women to Achieve Academic Success," which will be held June 7th (8:30 a.m. – 11 a.m., A. Alfred Taubman Biomedical Science Research Building). The event is sponsored by the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute.

Click here for more details.

Research Topics: 
Sun, October 17, 2010

Brian Zikmund-Fisher, PhD, was featured in an interview by the U-M News Service on September 29, 2010.  Dr. Zikmund-Fisher served as the featured guest editor for a special supplement to Medical Decision Making, Sept/Oct 2010, that focused on the DECISIONS study. In the interview, Dr. Zikmund-Fisher highlighted the need for health care providers to do a better job of educating patients about the medical decisions they face.  A video highlights the findings of the study and can be found at: http://ns.umich.edu/htdocs/releases/story.php?id=8008.  CBSSM faculty also involved in the DECISIONS study included Angela Fagerlin, PhD, and Mick Couper, PhD

Thu, September 11, 2014

NOVA (on PBS) broadcasted a special episode on vaccines. Brian Zikmund-Fisher was interviewed and prominently featured. Diseases that were largely eradicated in the United States a generation ago-whooping cough, measles, mumps-are returning, in part because nervous parents are skipping their children's shots. Amid the return of vaccine-preventable diseases, NOVA examined the science of immunization, tracked outbreaks, and shed light on the risks of opting out.

The program premired Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 9 pm/8c on PBS. Watch the full program here.

You can read the press release here.

Research Topics: 
Mon, April 24, 2017

Reshma Jagsi was recently quoted in the Reuters Health News article, "How consent requirements may shape teen mental health research."

CBSSM joined 75+ exhibitors from labs and offices of the Medical School and across campus for the 2017 Researchpalooza.

Sponsored by the Office of Research, Researchpalooza is the perfect opportunity for colleagues and friends to have a great time and meet, mingle, and learn more about many of the organizations that offer their stellar services to faculty, students, and staff, all at one convenient time and location.

Susan Goold, MD, MHSA, MA

Faculty

Susan Dorr Goold, M.D., M.H.S.A., M.A., studies the allocation of scarce healthcare resources, especially the perspectives of patients and the public. Results from projects using the CHAT (Choosing Healthplans All Together) allocation game have been published and presented in national and international venues. CHAT won the 2003 Paul Ellwood Award and Dr. Goold is listed in the Foundation for Accountability's database of Innovators and Visionaries. Dr.

Last Name: 
Goold
Thu, October 29, 2015

Jeremy Sussman has received much press for a recent study in JAMA about rates of treatment deintensification in diabetes. Dr. Sussman is first author of a study that found that among older diabetes patients whose treatment resulted in very low blood pressure, only a minority (27% or fewer) underwent treatment deintensification for diabetes, which represents a lost opportunity to reduce overtreatment. The study suggests practice guidelines and performance measures should place more focus on reducing overtreatment through deintensification.

Tanner Caverly and other CBSSM faculty co-authored a national survey study in JAMA examining VA primary care health-care professionals' beliefs regarding prescribing for older diabetics. This study found misperceptions about the benefits of stringent blood glucose control and concerns about negative repercussions following deintensification of therapy. This study is also being cited in a number of press articles.

Original studies:

Sussman, Jeremy B., Eve A. Kerr, Sameer D. Saini, Rob G. Holleman, Mandi L. Klamerus, Lillian C. Min, Sandeep Vijan, and Timothy P. Hofer. "Rates of Deintensification of Blood Pressure and Glycemic Medication Treatment Based on Levels of Control and Life Expectancy in Older Patients With Diabetes Mellitus." JAMA Internal Medicine (2015): 1-8.

Caverly, Tanner J., Angela Fagerlin, Brian J. Zikmund-Fisher, Susan Kirsh, Jeffrey Todd Kullgren, Katherine Prenovost, and Eve A. Kerr. "Appropriate Prescribing for Patients With Diabetes at High Risk for Hypoglycemia: National Survey of Veterans Affairs Health Care Professionals." JAMA internal medicine (2015): 1-3.

Stephanie Kukora, MD

Faculty

Dr. Stephanie Kukora is a clinical lecturer in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine at the University of Michigan Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor.  She completed pediatric bioethics training through the Kansas City Children’s Hospital, under the instruction of Drs.

Research Interests: 
Last Name: 
Kukora

Dean Shumway, MD

Alumni

Dean Shumway was an Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology with the University of Michigan Health System and the Ann Arbor VA Medical Center. He received his M.D. from the University of Chicago and completed his residency training at the University of Michigan, where he served as Chief Resident. His research focuses on advancing the quality of care received by breast cancer patients, with emphasis on improving individualized care by developing interventions to enhance decision making.

Last Name: 
Shumway

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