Shared Decision Making
Shared decision making is a key component of patient-centred health care. It is where healthcare providers and patients work together to make decisions and select tests, treatments and care plans. It uses clinical evidence that balances benefits, risks and expected outcomes with patient values, goals and preferences.
Using Decision Support Tools
Decision aids are a type of decision support tool that clinicians, patients, carers and families can work through together. Shared decision making describes five questions that patients can use to ask their doctor to guide their process:
- What will happen if I (the patient) wait and watch?
- What are the tests or treatment options?
- What are the benefits and harms of each option?
- How do the benefits and harms weigh up for me (the patient)?
- Do I (the patient) have enough information to make a choice?
Another model, framed from the patient perspective, is Ask Share Know, which encourages patients to ask three questions about their care.
The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in healthcare has also developed a Question Builder tool to help patients, carers and families consider questions to ask their doctor and prepare for a clinical consultation.