eHealth Innovation founder, Dr Alex Jadad, recently published a case study of a young woman with intractable epilepsy whose family and medical specialists used a collaborative decision-making approach to guide active collaboration between the patient and physician. The abstract is provided below; however the full article is available online from the Journal of Participatory Medicine.
Physician–patient collaboration was recognized as a critical core of participatory medicine more than a century ago. However, the subsequent focus on scientific research to enable cures and increased dominance of physicians in health care subordinated patients to a passive role. This paternalistic model weakened in the past 50 years—as women, minorities, and the disabled achieved greater rights, and as incurable chronic diseases and unrelieved pain disorders became more prevalent—promoting a more equitable role for physicians and patients. By 2000, a shared decision-making model became the pinnacle for clinical decisions, despite a dearth of data on health outcomes, or the model’s reliance on single patient or solo practitioner studies, or evidence that no single model could fit all clinical situations. We report about a young woman with intractable epilepsy due to a congenital brain malformation whose family and medical specialists used a collaborative decision-making approach. This model positioned the health professionals as supporters of the proactive family, and enabled them all to explore and co-create knowledge beyond the clinical realm. Together, they involved other members of the community in the decisions, while harnessing diverse relationships to allow all family members to achieve positive levels of health, despite the resistance of the seizures to medical treatment and the incurable nature of the underlying disease.