This paper clarifies what is meant by the term ‘shared decision making’ and which skills and resources are required to implement it. It also outlines what action is needed to make this vision a reality.
This paper states that the principle of shared decision making, in the context of a clinical consultation, is that it should:
- support patients to articulate their understanding of their condition and of what they hope treatment (or self management support) will achieve
- inform patients about their condition, about the treatment or support options available, and about the benefits and risks of each
- ensure that patients and clinicians arrive at a decision based on mutual understanding of this information
- record and implement the decision reached.
It outlines the importance of communication skills and sets out how clinicians might approach consultations to arrive at shared decisions. It also suggests that tools that help patients in making decisions are just as important as guidelines for clinicians.