Patient Preferences and Health Disparities

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Katz, J. N.
Katz, J. N. (2001) Patient Preferences and Health Disparities. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 286 (12). pp. 1506-1509.
Preference-based care is transforming the patient-clinician relationship. In a traditional management model physicians make treatment decisions, while in the preference-based paradigm patients choose the treatments that best conform to their values. The preference model fulfills a fundamental tenet of high-quality care—that the patient should be involved in decisions concerning the care process. In addition to respecting patient preferences, another key health care priority is the elimination of well-documented racial, ethnic, and sex disparities in use of health care resources. While preference-based care and health care disparities have received considerable attention over the last decade, there has been limited inquiry into how these issues relate to each other. Moreover, it is possible that preference-based care may reinforce the very inequities and disparities that health care policy makers have pledged to remedy.