Making a decision
If you are ill or have a health problem, you can often choose between different treatments. In many cases there will be a treatment that is clearly right for you – or none of the options would be worth the trouble or justify the possible adverse effects. Then you will find it easy to decide what to do.
But sometimes you will have to make a decision. Then you have to compare different treatments and weigh their possible benefits and harms against one another. Although this is not always easy, there are some fundamental questions that may help guide your decision.
We have put together some questions that can be useful when making a decision. These questions can be grouped according to two different stages of decision-making.
- Collecting information: The first stage involves finding the information you need to make a decision.
- Evaluating information: The second stage involves assessing the information you have collected and weighing the pros and cons of the different options. The aim is to evaluate information in such a way that you can arrive at the best decision for you.
In many cases, the stages of collecting and evaluating information overlap. We have deliberately decided to describe these two processes as separate stages to show how one follows the other and to make the differences between the two clearer. You can find the main stages in the menu on the right.
IQWiG health information is written with the aim of helping
people understand the advantages and disadvantages of the main treatment options and health
Because IQWiG is a German institute, some of the information provided here is specific to the German health care system. The suitability of any of the described options in an individual case can be determined by talking to a doctor. We do not offer individual consultations.
Our information is based on the results of good-quality studies. It is written by a team of health care professionals, scientists and editors, and reviewed by external experts. You can find a detailed description of how our health information is produced and updated in our methods.