• By Dana Sparks

Science Saturday: Shared decision making should encourage conversations

October 7, 2017
Dr. Victor Montori speaking with a patient and sharing decision making

Shared decision making involves educating patients so they can work with clinicians to make decisions about their care. Mayo Clinic researchers advocate for tools that promote a conversation during the visit (called conversation aids), and not simply provide information to the patients beforehand for them to make a decision themselves (referred to as patient decision aids).

To improve quality and reduce health care spending at a population level, state and federal agencies have begun requiring shared decision making tools for certain procedures and tests. With legal and financial incentives, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and others aim to move the industry toward value-based care.

But do shared decision making tools, which involve educating patients so they can work with clinicians to make decisions about their care, improve care? Mayo Clinic is helping answer that question.

Researchers in the Mayo Clinic Knowledge and Evaluation Research Unit published an editorial in JAMA on Aug. 15 on shared decision making. The researchers advocate for tools that promote a conversation during the visit (called conversation aids), and not simply provide information to the patients beforehand for them to make a decision themselves (referred to as patient decision aids). The researchers contend that patient decision aids can burden patients with having to decline their clinicians’ recommendations, but conversation aids directly encourage patient-clinician dialogue and a joint decision.

“While some organizations simply distribute decision aids to patients and consider the job done, we believe that patients are best served by an unhurried consultation,” says senior author Juan Brito Campana, M.B.B.S., medical director of the Mayo Clinic Shared Decision Making National Resource Center. Read the rest of the article on Advancing the Science.

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