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Empowering Patients Through Shared Decision-Making in Healthcare

Empowering Patients Through Shared Decision-Making in Healthcare

A major incident that complicated my decision-making at a professional level was when a mother brought her 5-year-old child to the facility with a recurrent rash on her arms and back and a running nose. On follow-up, it was identified that the child had never been immunized since birth. On inquiry, the mother claimed vaccines were unsafe and could slow down a child’s development and cause autism and other neurodevelopmental diseases. Despite providing her with information on the safety and efficacy of vaccines and their importance, she insisted her child would never get vaccinated. This scenario complicated decision-making for the appropriate care for the child as the mother was the primary decision maker, and I had an obligation to ensure the child received the care she deserved to live a healthy and fulfilling life till adulthood.

Advances in technology and medicine, such as vaccine and vaccine development technologies, have significantly helped me live a healthy life. Vaccine technologies, like Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines, have improved the duration taken to develop new vaccines, even for new variants of diseases. For instance, the mRNA vaccine technology helped to fast develop effective vaccines to counter the spread of COVID-19. Such vaccines, such as the mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine, reduce the risk of developing a disease as well as the severity of an infection (Thompson et al., 2022).

However, vaccines and new vaccine technologies such as mRNA-based vaccines have the potential to lead people to be unhealthy. For instance, the belief that such vaccines provide full protection against infections may cause people to disregard health directives towards protecting themselves and others. Additionally, a lack of sufficient testing data may pose a risk of developing complicated vaccine-related conditions. For instance, current research has indicated an association between receiving the mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 and the development of myocarditis and pericarditis following COVID-19 vaccination (Pillay et al., 2021). Therefore, despite the improvements to healthy living and advanced healthcare technology and medicine present, it is important to consider the related risks with new technologies and medicines.


Pillay, J., Bialy, L., Gaudet, L., Wingert, A., Mackie, A. S., Paterson, D. I., & Hartling, L. (2021). Myocarditis and Pericarditis following COVID-19 vaccination: Rapid systematic review of incidence, risk factors, and clinical course. MedRxiv, 2021.11.19.21266605.

Thompson, M. G., Natarajan, K., Irving, S. A., Rowley, E. A., Griggs, E. P., Gaglani, M., Klein, N. P., Grannis, S. J., DeSilva, M. B., Stenehjem, E., Reese, S. E., Dickerson, M., Naleway, A. L., Han, J., Konatham, D., McEvoy, C., Rao, S., Dixon, B. E., Dascomb, K., … Ong, T. C. (2022). Effectiveness of a third dose of mRNA vaccines against COVID-19–associated emergency department and urgent care encounters and hospitalizations among adults during periods of delta and omicron variant predominance — VISION Network, 10 States, August 2021–January 2022. MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 71(4).


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Patient experience has become a greater focus for healthcare organizations. Instead of dictating treatment and care decisions, the goal is to create partnerships with consumers and use advancements in medicine and technology that may enable consumers to better make informed decisions. As a patient access director, it is important to understand the complexity of decisions consumers face and how to assist them in working through these decisions with their providers.

Empowering Patients Through Shared Decision-Making in Healthcare

Empowering Patients Through Shared Decision-Making in Healthcare


Consider the many challenges facing consumers as they make healthcare decisions. Describe an instance from your personal or professional life where you faced a complicated decision, directly or indirectly, regarding health care.

How are advances in technology and medicine enabling you to live a healthier life? How may this [technology] enable people to be unhealthy?

Note: If you do not wish to discuss an instance from your own personal experience, you may discuss an example from the news.

Respond to the prompt above in a minimum of 175 words.

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