Shared Decision Making

Shared decision making is a collaborative process that encourages health care professionals and patients to make health care decisions together, taking into account scientific evidence as well patients’ needs and preferences. Shared decision making has been advocated as an approach to improve the quality of the patient communication process.1,2 In the context of diabetes care, a sound shared decision making approach first requires that health care professionals be informed of current treatment recommendations and that patients receive guidance when choosing treatment options.

Decision aids (e.g., brochures, booklets, videos) can be used to introduce evidence-based information about various therapy options and explain expected outcomes, risks, and benefits of each option to patients. Providing decisions aids to patients prior to an office visit or before making decisions can help ensure that they are prepared in advance to discuss questions and concerns with their health care team. Decision aids can also be used during the patient encounter to enhance patient-provider communication. In addition, decision aids can be made available through patient portals or online sites.

It is important to note that while shared decision making has been proven to be beneficial, there is limited evidence to support that it improves behavioral and clinical outcomes.3