Shared decision-making: benefits, barriers and current opportunities for application

Australas Psychiatry. 2010 Oct;18(5):394-7. doi: 10.3109/10398562.2010.499944.


Objective: Patient preference and involvement are two important aspects for many psychiatric treatment decisions. Shared decision-making (SDM) has been proposed as the optimal model to include patient preferences and involve patients in such decisions. Decision-making tools called decision aids (DA) are the most common application of SDM. DAs have been demonstrated to increase patients' knowledge, reduce decisional conflict, and reduce the proportion of patients who are passive in the decision-making process or remain undecided. Unfortunately, there are few DAs available for treatment decisions for psychiatric disorders and implementing SDM can be a challenge for mental health professionals. There are also issues unique to psychiatry related to the development and implementation of DAs that need consideration. Despite this, mental health professionals can and do still employ SDM techniques. This article offers an overview of the skills required to implement a SDM model and the resources currently available.

Conclusions: The core features of SDM are advocated for in clinical guidelines, but more resources are needed to ensure these recommendations are implemented in practice. In particular, the benefits of freely available DAs developed according to international standards need to be assessed for suitability and effectiveness.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Community Participation
  • Decision Making*
  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical*
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / therapy
  • Patients
  • Psychiatry / methods*
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Research