Study Examines How Older Adults and Clinicians View Tradeoffs in Treatment Options

Evolving toward effective and efficient health care decision-making based on health outcomes priorities among adults with multiple health concerns

Older people who have multiple medical conditions must often make medical choices with competing benefits and risks. From 2007 to 2010, a team of researchers at Yale University School of Medicine conducted a study examining how both older adults and clinicians view the tradeoffs faced by patients with multiple medical conditions. They found:

  • A majority of seniors rated maintaining independence as their most important priority.
  • Concerns about side effects had a greater effect on people’s willingness to take a drug than concerns about its effectiveness.
  • Clinicians recognized the complexity of caring for older persons with multiple conditions and the need to provide more individually tailored therapy, but said they needed more support to make appropriate decisions in such cases.