Implementing shared decision making in the UK

A report for the Health Foundation

July 2010

Angela Coulter

Key points

  • Patients who have participated in shared decision-making projects have usually been overwhelmingly positive about them
  • Various barriers can inhibit the implementation of shared decision making, including:
    • culture and attitudes
    • resources and time pressures 
    • systems and incentives.
  • It will be necessary to consider a number of practical factors when carrying out shared decision making implementation projects, such as:
    • the scope and focus of the programme
    • the choice of topic and practice setting
    • the development and use of appropriate decision aids such as videos, DVDs and web applications.
  • While promoting the theory of shared decision making is not difficult, it may be harder to generate sufficient interest to get people to incorporate it into their daily routines.

Through interviews with almost 40 experts, this report explores how shared decision making can be embedded into clinical practice as a core part of mainstream health services.

This report has been produced to help the Health Foundation develop a demonstration project to assist in the implementation of shared decision making. This is the process of encouraging patients to participate in selecting appropriate treatments or management options.

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