Why is shared decision making important?

There are a number of key drivers for shared decision making, which are relevant to anyone looking for levers to improve their services, whether they are healthcare professionals encouraging their team to make improvements or commissioners working for better care across their area.

The NHS Five Year Forward View  (chapter 2) set out a vision of a new relationship between people and professionals, and between the care system and communities. The new relationship is based on partnership, and an understanding that expertise and experience do not rest only with professionals or organisations. This vision underpins the Next Steps on the Five Year Forward View.

Shared decision making is important as:

  • It can create a new relationship between individuals and professionals based on partnership
  • People want to be more involved than they currently are in making decisions about their own health and health care
  • Both individuals and clinicians tend to consistently overestimate the benefits of treatments and underestimate the harms
  • It has the potential to enhance the way resources are allocated and reduce  unwarranted clinical variation.