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:
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.
Three short videos for clinicians on shared decision making are also available. 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.
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.
The Commission has also undertaken two environmental scans to consider the content and quality of consumer information about cataract surgery and tonsillectomy in children. The purpose of the reviews was to identify if there was a need for updated or new material to support consumer understanding of their healthcare options.
The reviews identified a number of higher-quality resources that provided comprehensive information about risks, benefits, and options related to cataract surgery and tonsillectomy in children:
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.
Lucia Tapsall, Senior Project Officer