Objective: To consider the conceptualisation of patient involvement in treatment decision-making.
Method: Conceptual review.
Results: Current models and measures of patient involvement in treatment decision-making tend to focus on communication within consultations and/or on the patient's use of information to consider the selection of one treatment option from a well-defined set. These narrowly focused models and measures may obscure the relevance of patient involvement in decision-making for some health care contexts and limit investigations of the relationships between patient involvement in decision-making and health care outcomes. We outline a broader conceptual framework that reflects more of the complexity of the concept of involvement. It acknowledges that patients can be involved not only because of what they say and do to influence a decision, but also by virtue of what they think and feel about their roles, efforts and contributions to decision-making and their relationships with their clinicians. The framework encompasses the full range of activities associated with decision-making.
Conclusion: The proposed conceptual framework may broaden the relevance of patient involvement in decision-making and encourage a more comprehensive characterisation that may facilitate more sophisticated investigations of the relationships between patient involvement in decision-making and health care outcomes.
Practice implications: Clinicians who aspire to facilitate patient involvement in decision-making need to look beyond the way they discuss health care options with patients. They should also consider how they might enable patients to engage in the full range of decision-making activities and to develop a positive sense of involvement in these activities and with their clinicians.