Medical Decision Making: An Evidence-Based Approach To Theories Of Medical Decision Making And Health

13 Dec 2008

As a way to help both the sick and their medical care providers to make the best healthcare decisions possible, a special section of the current November/December 2008 issue of Medical Decision Making examines three current evidenced-based theories that can help to improve assessments, assist in prevention programs, and help with intervention efforts.

The special section sprang from a symposium at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Medical Decision Making (SMDM). The authors have gone beyond their symposium addresses to summarize the major findings and rationale for each of their positions, showing that it's important to make medical decisions based on an array of available scientific theories instead of "on the fly." The special section contains five articles, three of which each examine a different theory, along with an introductory and closing commentary article:
"Theories of Medical Decision Making and Health: An Evidence-Based Approach," by special section guest editor, Valerie F. Reyna

  • "A Reasoned Action Approach to Health Promotion," by Martin Fishbein

  • "Decision Making in the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change," by James O. Prochaska

  • "A Theory of Medical Decision Making and Health: Fuzzy Trace Theory," by Valerie F. Reyna

  • "Health Decision Making: Lynchpin of Evidence-Based Practice," by Bonnie Spring

"Ignoring evidence-based theory is no longer defensible in medical decision making, regardless of whether the focus is on research or on practical applications," writes the guest editor, Valerie F. Reyna in the introductory article. "It is essential to make research available to people in ways that they can use and theories that illuminate underlying decision processes provide the essential bridge between research advances and health outcomes."