Shared Decision Making (SDM)

Shared decision making (SDM) allows individuals to receive the expert advice and support they need in order to make the right decisions for their own personal health care. In the SDM process, clinicians and patients work collaboratively to reach a decision about treatment that best suits the patient. Through shared decision making, a clinician’s expertise and understanding are combined with a patient’s knowledge of their own personal circumstances and preferences to ensure a mutual understanding and deliver the best possible outcome for the patient.

Treatment options, potential risks and benefits can all be discussed alongside the patient’s goals, values and beliefs to outline the best plan for that person. It is particularly useful in cases where there is more than one reasonable course of action and the patient would benefit from understanding the potential trade-offs of one decision over the other, as is the case with most decisions in healthcare.

The process of shared decision making means that a partnership can be established between clinician and patient, enhancing the overall experience due to the patient being actively involved in the decision making process.

General Medical Council – Decision Making