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Lisa Scharff


Patient-centered care is focused on healthcare consumers becoming more involved in their own health care decision-making. Research is needed to examine how those decisions are made in different settings. The purpose of this concurrent transformative design mixed method study was to evaluate how the perceived health risks and benefits of Computed Tomography (CT) influenced decision-making to accept or reject a hypothetical CT recommendation. One hundred thirty-four participants read 1 of 8 vignettes on how either “high” or “low” susceptibility to cancer risk, severity of exposure to radiation, and diagnostic benefits affected their decision-making. Using the health belief model as a framework, a Likert scale assessed participants’ willingness to accept a proposed CT scan in a non-emergency setting. The majority of respondents accepted the recommendation. A factorial ANOVA was used to examine main and interaction effects. The perceived severity of radiation exposure and the interaction between susceptibility to cancer risk and diagnostic benefit significantly predicted scan acceptance. A Grounded Theory qualitative analysis identified wanting a diagnosis and trusting doctor’s recommendation as common themes. The quantitative and qualitative data were relatively consistent, including perceived severity being identified as a significant predictor of acceptance and as an emergent qualitative theme. This research may be used to influence positive social change by informing researchers about healthcare decision-makers, leading to an increase in patient involvement in healthcare decision-making. Understanding the factors weighed in patients’ decision-making may reform physician-patient dialogue and increase patient confidence in individual health care promotion.