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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 405--410

Shared decision-making and medicolegal aspects: Delivering high-quality cancer care in India

1 Department of Medical Oncology, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre, Rohini, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Medical Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
3 Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology, Medanta-The Medicity, Gurgaon, Haryana, India
4 Department of Medical Oncology, Hemato Oncology Clinic, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
5 Department of Medical Oncology, Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
6 Department of Medical Oncology, Omega Hospitals, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
7 Department of Medical Oncology, HCG, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
8 Department of Oncology, Merck Specialities Pvt. Ltd., India, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Correspondence Address:
Prabhash Kumar
Department of Medical Oncology, India Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJPC.IJPC_237_19

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It is often difficult for people with cancer to make decisions for their care. The aim of this review is to understand the importance of shared decisionmaking (SDM) in Indian clinical scenario and identify the gaps when compared to practices in the Western world. A systematic search (2000-2019) was executed in Medline and Google Scholar using predefined keywords. Of the approximate 400 articles retrieved, 43 articles (Indian: 5; Western: 38) were selected for literature review. Literature review revealed the paucity of information on SDM in India compared to the Western world data. This may contribute to patientreported physical or psychological harms, life disruptions, or unnecessary financial costs. Western world data demonstrate the involvement and sharing of information by both patient and physician, collective efforts of the two to build consensus for preferred treatment. In India, involvement of patients in the planning for treatment is largely limited to tertiary care centers, academic institutes, or only when the cost of therapy is high. In addition, cultural beliefs and prejudices impact the extent of participation and engagement of a patient in disease management. Communication failures have been found to strongly correlate with the medicolegal malpractice litigations. Research is needed to explore ways to how to incorporate SDM into routine oncology practice. India has a high unmet need towards SDM in diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Physicians need to involve patients or their immediate family members in decision making, to make it a patient-centric approach as well. SDM enforces to avoid uninformed decisionmaking or a lack of trust in the treating physician's knowledge and skills. Physician and patient education, development of tools and guiding policies, widespread implementation, and periodic assessments may advance the practice of SDM.


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Online since 1st October '05
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