Original ArticlesIs Information Always a Good Thing? Helping Patients Make “Good” DecisionsUbel, Peter A. MDAuthor Information From the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan; and the Division of General Internal Medicine, and the Program for Improving Health Care Decisions, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Dr. Ubel is recipient of a career development award in health services research from the Department of Veter-ans Affairs and of a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Peter A. Ubel, MD, Program for Improving Health Care Decisions, 300 North Ingalls, Room 7C27, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0429. E-Mail: [email protected] Medical Care: September 2002 - Volume 40 - Issue 9 - p V-39-V-44 Buy Abstract In most cases, patient preferences are crucial in making good health care decisions. For example, choices between chemotherapy and radiation treatment usually hinge on trade-offs that only patients can decide about. In recognition of the importance of patient preferences in clinical decisions, health services researchers have begun developing decision aids to help patients understand complex medical information. But these decision aids might lead to “bad choices”—choices that are inconsistent with people’s stated preferences. In this paper, the author provides examples of how people make inconsistent medical decisions, and briefly discusses future directions for exploring ways of structuring information so that patients are less likely to make inconsistent choices. © 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.