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Decision Point Help Window

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Within the course of every illness or health problem, you have to make decisions—little decisions about whether to call a doctor and what self-care is best, and big decisions about medications, tests, and surgeries. Decision Point topics focus on medical care decisions you may face.

Decision Point topics help you understand the key information and important issues related to your decision. Before you can make an informed decision it's important that you:

  • Fully understand the medical problem and testing or treatment options.
  • Consider your personal values and preferences.

This information will help you work in partnership with your doctor. When both you and your doctor participate in the decision-making process, you'll reach the decision that best fits your needs and concerns.

Decision Point This image identifies links to Decision Points, which generally appear in the Treatment Overview or the Exams and Tests section of selected topics. Decision Points can also be found in the Health Tools section of a topic.

Information included in Decision Points

Introduction and key points

Key points are the core of a decision. They capture the most important information in the Decision Point and present it in an easy-to-understand format. Often, key points summarize compelling medical information, offer a concise look at risk versus benefit, illustrate a desirable outcome (either short term or long term), cite a professional recommendation, or even offer commonsense advice. The remaining sections in the Decision Point support the statements made in the key points.

Medical Information

The "Medical Information" section presents medical information in question-and-answer format. This section includes:

  • Medical information about the decision.
  • Medical information about the effectiveness of a test or treatment.

Your Information

The "Your Information" section helps you decide about your personal comfort level and preferences about the decision. This section has a table that lists the pros and cons of the decision. Personal stories about people who chose the treatment option and those who did not choose it are included.

Wise Health Decision

The "Wise Health Decision" section includes a worksheet with statements about your options. Choosing "yes" or "no" for each statement helps you understand how you are feeling about the decision.

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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.