Shared Decision Making

Shared decision making ensures that individuals are supported to make decisions that are right for them. It is a collaborative process through which a clinician supports a patient to reach a decision about their treatment.

The conversation brings together:

  • the clinician’s expertise, such as treatment options, evidence, risks and benefits
  • what the patient knows best: their preferences, personal circumstances, goals, values and beliefs.

Shared decision making requires skill from health professionals and most importantly a willingness to involve their patient in decisions about their care. Health professionals also need to recognise that patients, particularly those with lower levels of health literacy, may need support to take a more active partnership role with their care professional. To be successful, it relies on two sources of expertise:

  • the health professional as an expert on the effectiveness, probable benefits and potential harms of treatment options
  • the person as an expert on themselves, their social circumstances, attitudes to illness and risk, values and preferences.

Personalised Care in Nottinghamshire - YouTube

In any decision where there is more than one option, the values and preferences of the person, such as their attitude to risk, may be as important as the clinical evidence in choosing which option to follow. Shared decision making enables people to align their preferences to treatment options that are clinically valid. It does not mean that people can choose clinical treatments that have no evidence base. Both parties must be willing to share information and accept shared responsibility for joint decision-making. This may only be a subtle change of practice for some, but it could feel like a dramatic one for others and especially for the person involved.

Where are we in Lincolnshire?

We are starting work with the MSK System Improvement Programme to embed Shared Decision making into MSK pathways in Autumn 2022.

What support is there for me and my team to embed Shared Decision Making?

The Personalised Care Institute offer a free 30 minute e-learning module on Shared Decision Making

Preparing People for a different conversation

We are looking to develop some materials to support people in Lincolnshire to have a different conversation. In the mean time you may find these useful to show/ give to people  

NHSE Prepared Patients Video

Getting ready to talk about your health infographic

Make the most of your appointment - Patient Leaflet

3 Questions document


If you would like to discuss embedding Shared Decision Making into your service please contact

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