March 17

Directors Column

March 2017 

1. Identify the decision to be made.  2. Gather the facts. 3. Consider the pros and cons of.  4. Prioritize and clarify choice based on findings.  5. Follow-through on your decision. 6. Repeat as necessary.  Whether you are naming a baby or choosing which candy to give the kiddies at Halloween, these are the steps to making a good decision.  What if you are considering something a little weightier than peanut chews, or between the name Madeline with a Y or an I?  Decision making is a fundamental aspect of healthcare.  Your doctor is making recommendations to you, your family and friends are giving you input as well and that leaves you to give the final word on what you want to do. More and more, the medical profession is leaning toward what they call ‘person centered care’.  That means that they ask you what you want to do.  You might be thinking “Why are they asking me? I didn’t go to medical school.  It is not that Dr. Welby is shirking his responsibilities, it’s that the medical profession has realized that while they may be rich in diagnostic knowledge, they know nothing about your own personal feeling about things that could influence your decisions for treatment.  It’s not just the issue to have surgery and a second opinion, those are the easy decisions.  It’s thoughts about the care you give yourself and the choices you make between those major decisions.  Like did you treat your small foot sore with some ointment, a paper towel and some tape? Are you treating your stomach pain with peppermint tea for the last 2 years?   These decision might work in some cases but they also could have extremely detrimental effects on your future. It’s like this.  You have a big brain that works the overtime shift for you every day.  It has two ways that it thinks and makes decisions.  It is known as System 1 and System 2 thinking.  System 1 thinking is impulsive, intuitive and fast. It is developed from years of making similar decisions.  It requires little effort and is practically unconscious.  System 2 thinking is analytical and logical.  It is controlled, slow and conscious process and requires effort to use.  System 2 thinking declines with age (We’re smarter but think more slowly)  As a result, our decision making brain takes a shortcut and falls back on tried and true experiences and biases that we may not even know that we have.     Consider above examples.   The sore is small and you are confident in your abilities for self-care, but you are in denial about possible circulatory issues which influences the condition.  2.  You have used homeopathic non-medical interventions successfully your entire life are in excellent health but are not acknowledging that this treatment modality is not working and may be getting worse.

When considering your health, be conscious of factors, such as personal biases, that may affect your decisions.  This awareness can help you correct for it and make a better decisions.   It can be helpful to share your decision making process with another.  Be honest and open, listen to others points of view and take some time to make a decision considering all of the information that is gathered.   This process can greatly improve the positive outcomes of every decision you make!





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           6 Harrison St.
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