- Adopt a mindset of scientific detachment, resisting the instinct to ask themselves, “What would I do in this situation?” because the patient may value the risks, benefits, and side-effects of the treatment options differently.
- Form a provisional diagnosis based on available data on what a patient’s preference is likely to be, without assuming that the patient in front of them is the “average” patient.
- Engage patients in shared decision-making by informing them of the options; discussing the risks, benefits, and side-effects of each, including non-treatment options like watchful waiting; and inquiring if they feel ready to make a decision.
Patients also, of course, have a role and need to come prepared with questions about options. Groopman’s book, How Doctors Think has some good suggestions (here) as well as some other articles (here and here).