Contributor: Diana Dilger – Health Writer, Emmi Solutions
Everybody buckle your seatbelts. I’m about to get into something that, until recently, wasn’t a controversial topic but now brings out the boxing gloves at its mere mention: vaccines. As I’m sure anyone who’s been alive the last ten years can testify, vaccines have become one of the most heated discussion topics in everyday healthcare.
Regardless of the side you fall on, I wonder if there isn’t a way to tackle this debate without putting off people who might otherwise be brought around to your way of thinking. Rather than trying to refuse your doctor’s perspective or strong-arm your patient into something he or she doesn’t believe in, why not try the same approach as shared decision making?
Sure, typically shared decision making is used when there are treatments that are more or less equally valid in dealing with the condition. However, the true basis of it is listening to the patients’ values and ensuring that they understand the benefits and risks of each of their options. Why can’t this same tactic be applied to vaccines?
Think about it. Let’s say a patient, Amy, comes into Dr. Smith’s office. Amy does not want to vaccinate her child. Perhaps she thinks it may cause autism. Perhaps she is of the mindset that Big Pharma is pushing unnecessary drugs on her child and she prefers clean living. All of which is understandable with the information she has access to and the values she holds.
Meanwhile, Dr. Smith is adamant that vaccines are proven to keep diseases at bay that can render a child very ill, cause permanent damage to the child or even lead to death. He feels it is his responsibility to inoculate Amy’s child.
But let’s say Dr. Smith can put those thoughts aside for a moment when Amy tells him she doesn’t want to vaccinate her child. Let’s say he asks, “May I ask why?” instead. That one little question shows interest, allows Amy to explain herself without feeling attacked and allows her to feel her doctor is listening to what’s important to her. Continue Reading »