Trust but verify: Patterns of obtaining health information and the role of physician trust in decision-making amongst patients with metastatic breast cancer.

Academic Article


  • 218 Background: Increasing emphasis on patient-centered care has led to shared decision making, which better aligns medical decisions with patient preferences for care. In its 2004 report, Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion, the US Institute of Medicine defines health literacy as the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions. However, little is known about the confluent role of patient health information seeking patterns and physician trust in the decision-making process. Therefore, we assessed perspectives of metastatic breast cancer (MBC) patients and health care professionals regarding how health information seeking and physician trust influence decision making. Methods: Qualitative interviews with 26 MBC patients and 6 community oncologists, as well as 3 separate focus groups involving lay navigators, nurses, and academic oncologists, were recorded and transcribed. Qualitative data analysis was conducted using a content analysis approach that included a constant comparative method to generate themes from the transcribed textual data. Results: Five prominent themes emerged from these responses. (1) Patients’ primary source of treatment information were physicians. (2) Patients differed in their approach to seeking further health information regarding the discussed treatment options (e.g. internet websites, family and friends, support groups). (3) Patients trusted their physician’s recommendations to achieve their goals of care. (4) Oncologists were cognizant of their fundamental role in facilitating informed decision making (5) Patient and physician discordant perspectives on shared decision making were apparent. Conclusions: Patient procurement of health information and their capacity to use it effectively to make informed decisions in conjunction with their trust in physicians, may play an important role in shared decision making.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 17571910
  • Author List

  • Niranjan SJ; Wallace AS; Williams BR; Turkman YE; Williams C; Forero-Torres A; Bhatia S; Knight SJ; Rocque GB
  • Start Page

  • 218
  • End Page

  • 218
  • Volume

  • 36
  • Issue

  • 30_suppl