Shared decision making

Shared decision making involves discussion and collaboration between a consumer and their healthcare provider. It is about bringing together the consumer's values, goals and preferences with the best available evidence about benefits, risks and uncertainties of treatment, in order to reach the most appropriate healthcare decisions for that person.

Patient and doctor

The value of shared decision making

Shared decision making is of increasing interest to policy makers and international researchers. Current research indicates that:

  • Consumers are less informed and involved in making decisions about their health care than they would like to be
  • Shared decision making can improve satisfaction with care and leads to better quality decisions
  • Consumers using evidence-based decision aids have improved knowledge of the options, more accurate expectations of possible benefits and harms, and feel that they had greater participation in decision making than people receiving usual care
  • Better-informed consumers make different, often more conservative, less costly choices about treatment, because, it is thought, that information provides a realistic appreciation of likely benefits and risks of treatment and enables decisions about the potential outcomes in a more considered way.