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Media May Influence Decisions Doctors Make

Few of us are immune to media influence, and doctors are no exception.

According to the results of a new study, news coverage and advertising – especially when brought to a doctor’s attention by a patient – does play a role in how physicians make treatment decisions.

As part of the study, the American College of Cardiology surveyed 150 ACC members as well as 253 care physicians, and found that while most treatment decisions are driven by clinical guidelines and science, patient interest in drugs based on advertising they see may influence whether a doctor writes a prescription.

Nearly every doctor surveyed reported they’d been asked by patients about drugs they’ve seen advertised, and more than half said they changed a patient’s prescription based on those interactions.

Patients have also raised questions about negative news coverage about as often as they do advertised prescriptions, doctors said, and to a lesser degree, positive news coverage as well as procedures linked to lawsuits or personal injury claims. Each plays a role in treatment choices; doctors reported.

The more complex the disease a patient is diagnosed with, however, the less likely a physician is to be influenced by media coverage.

The survey suggests the doctors need to stay current on media coverage as well as in order to best address patient concerns.

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