Difficult Medical Choices

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Held annually in the US, the American Marketing Association Summer Educators conference attracts over 1000 academics, educators and practitioners from all over the world. It is one of the leading events for academic research and education in marketing.

My research, which focused on the difficult choices that consumers often face when making decisions related to their health, was presented as part of the Services Marketing track of the Summer AMA conference, held this year in Chicago.

In the presentation, I draw attention to “preference-based decisions” – when multiple alternatives can be medically warranted. For such decisions, the patient assumes a more active role, becomes a “medical consumer,” shares the decision with the MD, instead of passively following the doctor’s advice or instruction. An interesting and important finding is that active patient participation in medical decisions improves the emotional outcome of such a decision: in shared decision mode, patients feel less post-decision regret, compared to doctor-made decisions.