Patients will come and seek help from a qualified healthcare professional. Individuals will look to these experts to help provide them appropriate treatment for their respective ailments. However, healthcare is truly individualized, and each patient needs to be evaluated separately. Sometimes patients will rely too heavily on practitioners to ‘fix’ the problem. A better solution may to not just be a provider but be a guide to the individual’s episode of care.
Shared decision-making is when healthcare professionals work together to help patients to reach evidence-informed and value-congruent medical decisions.1 The idea is to include the patient in the decision-making process. It becomes important to understand values clarification, as this incorporates patient values and personal preferences.1 Understanding the patient’s belief system and values can be helpful to guide the episode of care.
There are some steps that one can take to achieve shared decision making:1
Identify a clear decision point – Ensure both the patient and the clinician understand and make explicit what the decision is about and what the options are.
Provide information about the clinical problem and options at the decision point – This involves the provision of balanced, evidence-based information regarding the options under consideration
Elicit the patient perspective: Assess the patient’s view on what matters most – Clinical teams play important roles in encouraging and supporting patients to become more active in health-related decisions.
Guide the patient toward a final decision – This involves the challenge of providing guidance without being overly directive.
Assess how comfortable the patient is with his or her decision – At the end of the process, as a decision is made, the clinician can assess patient comfort with the decision by asking 4 brief questions, using the SURE screening test:
There is no start or an end with shared decision-making. This becomes a continuous theme, in which will be carried over throughout the entire episode of care. Shared decision making is not merely a technique or approach, yet it is a process that can be used to help guide decision made between the patient and the healthcare practitioner.2
Doing this helps the patient become:
The overall message is clear…
The patient needs to be an active participant in their respective episode of care!
Article Written By Eric Trauber, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS, FAAOMPT
- Grad R, Legare F, Bell NR, Dickinson JA, Singh H, Moore AE, Kasperavicius D, and Kretschemer KL. Shared decision making in preventive health care: what it is; what it is not. Prevention in Practice: A Series from the Canadian Task Force. 2017, 63: 682-684.
- Hoffman TC, Legare F, Simmons MB, McNamara K, McCaffery K, Trevena LJ, Hudson B, Glaziou PP, and Del Mar CB. Shared decision making: what clinicians need to know why should they bother? MJA 2014, 201 (1): 35-39.