Shared decision making

A GP takes a patient's blood pressure

Shared decision making (SDM) 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.

On these pages, you can find out more about shared decision making and why, and how, it is being embedded into everyday practice within NHS care.

About shared decision making

SDM is a process in which people who experience a change in their health work together with clinicians to select tests, treatments, management or support packages.

Why is SDM important?

There are a number of key reasons for shared decision making. An understanding of these reasons may be useful for anyone looking for levers to improve their services

How to make SDM happen

Shared decision making requires shifts in culture and systems, prepared professionals and supported individuals.