Safety and Quality > Our Work > Shared Decision Making > Decision support tools for patients

The Commission has developed a series of decision support tools  to support patients to engage with clinicians as partners in their own care.

Decision support tools provide high quality, synthesised information about particular conditions. They can help patients and clinicians compare the risks and benefits of treatment options, clarify what matters most to the patient and make a shared decision about what is the best option for the individual.

There are many different types of decision support tools. Current research on patient decision aids (a type of decision support tool) shows that when patients use decision aids they:

  • improve their knowledge of the options
  • feel clearer about what matters most to them
  • have more accurate expectations of possible benefits and harms of their options
  • participate more in decision making.

Using a patient decision aid can be particularly helpful when there is more than one reasonable treatment option, when no option has a clear advantage in terms of health outcomes, or when each option has benefits and harms that patients may value differently.

Download our infographic about the benefits of patient decision aids.


Antibiotic use patient decision aids

The Commission has produced three patient decision aids on antibiotic use for sore throat, acute bronchitis and middle ear infection in children in primary care:

Note: These patient decision aids are designed to be used by clinicians with patients in the clinical consultation.


Osteoarthritis of the knee decision support tool

The Commission has developed a decision support tool for patients for osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee to support patients to be more informed about the treatment options. The tool provides evidence-based information about the main treatment options, including the risks, benefits and costs. It also includes questions that patients may wish to consider when thinking about what is most important to them to discuss with their doctor or health professional.

This decision support tool is based on the treatment options in the Commission’s Osteoarthritis of the Knee Clinical Care Standard. Further information about the Commission’s work on Clinical Care Standards can be found here.