Shared Decision Making: Physician And Patient Decide Together

The following are excerpts from Shared Decision Making Fact Sheet 2013 [PDF]:

What is shared decision making?

Shared decision making is a key component of patient centered
health care. It is a process in which clinicians and patients work together to make decisions and select tests, treatments and care plans based on clinical evidence that balances risks and expected outcomeswith patient preferences and values.

Why is shared decision making important?

In many situations, there is no single “right” health care
decision because choices about treatment, medical tests,
and health issues come with pros and cons. Shared
decision making is especially important in these types of
• when there is more than one reasonable option,
such as for screening or a treatment decision
• when no one option has a clear advantage
• when the possible benefits and harms of each
option affect patients differently

Introducing Shared Decision Making to Patients: Suggested Language for Providers

• Sometimes things in medicine aren’t as clear as
most people think. Let’s work together so we can
come up with the decision that’s right for you.
• People have different goals and concerns. As you
think about your options, what’s important to you?
• Do you want to think about this decision with
anyone else? Someone who might be affected by
the decision? Someone who might help sort things
Source: Six Steps of Shared Decision Making.
© 2012 by Informed Medical Decisions Foundation. Used with

Selected Resources

Decision Aids
Decision aids for a variety of health issues are
available at no cost from:
Mayo Clinic
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

Toolkits and Provider Education Resources

These resources offer step-by-step implementation
guidelines and skills training:
Decision Support Toolkit
(Dartmouth Center for Shared Decision Making)
Implementation Toolkit
(Ottawa Hospital Research Institute)
Decision Support as a Clinical Skill Toolkit
(Dartmouth Center for Shared Decision Making)

Patient Resources
(from Informed Medical Decisions Foundation)

Video: What is Medical Shared Decision Making?
Accompanying patient visit guide: I Wish I had Asked that!

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