Patient-centered counseling to help women achieve their reproductive goals is an essential yet often absent component of primary care. Christine Dehlendorf, MD, MAS, professor of family community medicine at the Univerity of California San Francisco, says she began to think about the central role of patient-centered counseling in family planning when she started her fellowship in 2006, at about the same time several new methods of contraception were being launched.
She began to notice that health care professional enthusiasm for the novel methods as options for women desiring contraception was shifting toward less nuanced, more directive conversations in which the new methods were presented as the best options. Women who did not want to use them most likely "needed more counseling."
In a recent conversation with Patient Care®, Dehlendorf explains her reaction to those early signs of waning patient autonomy .