Objective: To review the literature to identify external influences on information exchange and shared decision-making in healthcare consultations and conceptualise how information is used both outside and within a consultation.
Methods: A 'meta-study' approach (meta-data-analysis, meta-theory, meta-method, and meta-synthesis) was used to locate, review, synthesise and summarise the findings, methodology, theoretical orientation and interpretation of qualitative research papers.
Results: In a model of external influences on information exchange within healthcare consultations, practitioner influences were: receptiveness to informed patients and patient choice, lack of knowledge of cultural difference, patient centredness vs. stereotyping. Patient influences were: motivation to seek and engage with information; the appraisal of information before a consultation, expression of cultural identity, and ways of managing the risk of poor information. Shared influences were: differing illness notions, role expectations and language. Empowerment, disempowerment and non-empowerment were outcomes of information exchange and health literacy was a mediator of external influences and empowerment.
Conclusion: This meta-study provides a conceptualisation of external influences on information exchange in shared decision-making where health literacy mediates patient related influences and is also an influence on empowerment.
Practice implications: Our model can inform the development of interventions aimed at improving information exchange and shared decision-making, potentially contributing to more equitable healthcare encounters.