Talking, not training, increased the accuracy of physicians' diagnosis of their patients' preferences for colon cancer screening

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Patient education and counseling


OBJECTIVE: Identify if primary care physicians (PCPs) accurately understand patient preferences for colorectal cancer (CRC) testing, whether shared decision making (SDM) training improves understanding of patient preferences, and whether time spent discussing CRC testing improves understanding of patient preferences. METHODS: Secondary analysis of a trial comparing SDM training plus a reminder arm to a reminder alone arm. PCPs and their patients completed surveys after visits assessing whether they discussed CRC testing, patient testing preference, and time spent discussing CRC testing. We compared patient and PCP responses, calculating concordance between patient-physician dyads. Multilevel models tested for differences in preference concordance by arm or time discussing CRC. RESULTS: 382 PCP and patient survey dyads were identified. Most dyads agreed on whether CRC testing was discussed (82%). Only 52% of dyads agreed on the patient's preference. SDM training did not impact accuracy of PCPs preference diagnoses (55%v.48%,p = 0.22). PCPs were more likely to accurately diagnose patient's preferences when discussions occurred, regardless of length. CONCLUSION: Only half of PCPs accurately identified patient testing preferences. Training did not impact accuracy. Visits where CRC testing was discussed resulted in PCPs better understanding patient preferences. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: PCPs should take time to discuss testing and elicit patient preferences.

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