Massachusetts General Hospital, founded in 1811, is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The MGH conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the United States, with an annual research budget of more than $785 m
"Breast cancer, for the most part, is not an emergency," says Karen Sepucha, director of the Health Decision Sciences Center at Massachusetts General Hospital.
"You often have up to several weeks to get some second opinions, to review the information, to ask questions and make sure that you have time to get past that initial shock and be able to participate."
Women can work together with their doctors to choose a course of action that not only fits the type of cancer they have but also the type of person they are.
"The whole idea of personalized medicine is personalizing it to the genetics of the tumor, and in shared decision making we're talking about personalizing treatment to the patient as a person," Sepucha says.
Doctors and patients each have individual expertise when it comes to choosing the best treatment options.
"The doctor's going to bring the science.
You're the expert on who you are and what you care about.
Your responsibility as a patient is to help make that known so the doctor can tailor the recommendations to your goals and preferences," Sepucha says.
Dr. Sepucha is the director of the Health Decision Sciences Center in the General Medicine Division at Massachusetts General Hospital and an assistant professor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School.Her research and clinical interests involve developing and implementing tools and methods to improve the quality of significant medical decisions made by patients and clinicians.
She is responsible for efforts to implement shared decision making tools into primary and specialty care at Mass General.
Karen is the director of the Health Decision Sciences Center in the General Medicine Division at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and an assistant professor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School.Her research and clinical interests involve developing and implementing tools and methods to improve the quality of significant medical decisions made by patients and clinicians.
Dr. Sepucha was the medical editor for a series of five breast cancer patient decision aids (PtDAs) developed by the not-for-profit Informed Medical Decisions Foundation.
The PtDAs have won seven media awards and Dr. Sepucha has led the dissemination of these programs to more than 80 academic and community cancer centers across the country.
She is also responsible for efforts to promote shared decision making into primary and specialty care at MGH through patient decision aids and clinician skills training.
Her recent research has focused on the development of instruments to measure the quality of decisions.
The decision quality instruments have been used in national surveys of medical decisions, and a subset of the items have been adapted for use in the CAHPS primary care medical home patient experience survey.
Dr. Sepucha has been active in local, national and international efforts to improve decision quality, including the International Patient Decision Aids Standards collaboration.
She got her Ph.D. in Engineering-Economic Systems and Operations Research at Stanford University with a focus in decision sciences.