The Commission is developing a program of work of shared decision making as a part of its commitment to supporting patient-centred care and to complement our work on reducing unwarranted health care variation and ensuring appropriateness of care.
Shared decision making involves the integration of a patient’s values, goals and concerns with the best available evidence about benefits, risks and uncertainties of treatment, in order to achieve appropriate health care decisions.
It involves clinicians and patients making decisions about the patient’s management together.
In partnership with their clinician, patients are encouraged to consider available screening, treatment, or management options and the likely benefits and harms of each, to communicate their preferences, and help select the course of action that best fits these.
Shared decision making is of increasing interest to policy makers and international researchers. Current research indicates that:
Health decisions often have no single ‘best choice’ and require choosing from multiple options. For patients (and carers) to understand risks and have the opportunity to actively be involved in sharing decisions, clinicians need to provide relevant and clear information about treatment options, and the potential benefits, risks, trade-offs and uncertainties of each. This information should reflect the best available evidence and take into account the patient’s personal opinions, preferences, values and priorities.
To support clinicians develop and refine their skills in communicating effectively about the benefits and risks of treatment options with patients, the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has developed a 2-hour e-learning module: Helping Patients Make Informed Decisions: Communicating benefits and risks.
Prior to releasing the open access version of the module, the Commission, in collaboration with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), produced an online module for doctors on shared decision making and risk communication. The module is available to RACGP members via the RACGP’s website.
Three short videos for clinicians on shared decision making have also been developed. These provide an overview on shared decision making, challenge myths about shared decision making in practice and explain how to use patient decision aids and where to find them.
Together the module and videos promote shared decision making and risk communication in practice, enabling clinicians and patients to work together to share in decision making.
The Commission has produced three patient decision aids on antibiotic use for sore throat, acute bronchitis and middle ear infection.
Resources and publications on shared decision making.
The Commission has produced a series of webinars featuring experts in Shared Decision Making and Patient Decision Aids.