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 Long Term Plan says personalised care will become business as usual across the health and care system, based on ‘what matters’ to people and their individual strengths and needs. Universal Personalised Care confirms how we will make this happen. It sets out a comprehensive model of personalised care, with shared decision making as one of six key parts of the whole model.

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.