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Expert Rev Pharmacoecon Outcomes Res. 2012 Apr;12(2):167-80. doi: 10.1586/erp.12.3.

Patient preferences and healthcare outcomes: an ecological perspective.

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  • 1Department of Communication, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-74234, USA.


This article examines the nature of patients' preferences for healthcare and whether clinician accommodation of patient preferences influences health outcomes. First, we provide a conceptualization of patient preferences along with their key attributes. Second, we review research on the relationship between health outcomes and patient preferences for treatments and for the process of care (e.g., preferred involvement in decision-making). Third, following a critique of this literature, we present an ecological model of patient preferences that, while acknowledging that patient preferences may emerge from various contexts (e.g., family or media exposure), we focus on the important role that clinical encounters and patients' health-related experiences play in the elicitation and construction of patient preferences. Fourth, we propose two pathways, one behavioral (adherence) and the other psychological (sense of autonomy or satisfaction with decision), through which meeting patient preferences could lead to better health outcomes. Fifth, we discuss how preferences can be elicited and clarified through patient-centered conversations. We conclude with implications for future research and clinical practice.

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