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.

Consumers want to be more informed and more involved in making decisions about their health care. There is good evidence that shared decision making can improve satisfaction with care and leads to better-quality decisions. Consumers who use evidence-based decision aids have improved knowledge of their treatment options and more accurate expectations of possible benefits and harms – this often leads to consumers making more conservative, less costly choices about treatment.

Shared decision making is an important part of delivering person-centred care, which underpins the principles and expectations of the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards.

There are a wide range of resources and tools available to help clinicians implement shared decision making in their practice. There is also information for consumers to help them get the most out of their health care, and ensure their goals, values and preferences are considered.