Evidence-based medicine and patient choice: the case of heart failure care.
AbstractOBJECTIVES: The implementation of evidence-based medicine and policies aimed at increasing user involvement in health care decisions are central planks of contemporary English health policy. Yet they are potentially in conflict. Our aim was to explore how clinicians working in the field of heart failure resolve this conflict. METHODS: Qualitative semi-structured interviews were carried out with health professionals who were currently caring for patients with heart failure, and observations were conducted at one dedicated heart failure clinic in northern England. RESULTS: While clinicians acknowledged that patients' ideas and preferences should be an important part of treatment decisions, the widespread acceptance of an evidence-based clinical protocol for heart failure among the clinic doctors significantly influenced the content and style of the consultation. CONCLUSION: Evidence-based medicine was used to buttress professional authority and seemed to provide an additional barrier to the adoption of patient-centred clinical practice