“Patients’ Expectations of Screening and Preventive Treatments.” By Ben Hudson, Abby Zarifeh, Lorraine Young, J. Elisabeth Wells, Annals of Family Medicine

An informed decision to accept a health care intervention requires an understanding of its likely benefit. This study assessed participants’ estimates of the benefit, as well as minimum acceptable benefit, of screening for breast and bowel cancer and medication to prevent hip fracture and cardiovascular disease. Patients overestimated the risk reduction achieved with 4 examples of screening and preventive medications. A lower level of education was associated with higher minimum benefit to justify intervention use. This tendency to overestimate benefits may affect patients’ decisions to use such interventions, and practitioners should be aware of this tendency when discussing these interventions with patients.

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