Helping people share decision making

A review of evidence considering whether shared decision making is worthwhile

July 2012

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Key points

  • Shared decision making improves a patient’s satisfaction, involvement in their care and knowledge of their condition.
  • The review highlights the need for approaches that support patients to have the confidence, information and support to participate in decisions about their health and healthcare.
  • The report also shows that policy statements alone will not put shared decision making into practice – active steps are needed to change the behaviour of both healthcare professionals and patients.

Together with Helping people help themselves, the Health Foundation’s May 2011 review of the evidence on supporting self-management, this report provides an up-to-date single reference point for the current state of knowledge about shared decision making.

In drawing together the evidence on shared decision making, and whether it can improve patient outcomes or lead to a more effective allocation of resources, the report highlights gaps in current knowledge. It finds that there is no common definition of shared decision making, creating significant challenges in understanding and replicating benefits and drawing conclusions across multiple studies.

We hope that this report will provide valuable insight for those interested in shared decision making.

Further reading

Research report

Evidence: Helping people help themselves

This rapid review compiles evidence about the effects of supporting self-management on people’s quality of life, clinical out...

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