Patient preferences for shared decisions: a systematic review

Patient Educ Couns. 2012 Jan;86(1):9-18. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2011.02.004. Epub 2011 Apr 6.


Objectives: Empirical literature on patient decision role preferences regarding treatment and screening was reviewed to summarize patients' role preferences across measures, time and patient population.

Methods: Five databases were searched from January 1980 to December 2007 (1980-2007 Ovid MEDLINE, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, PsychInfo, Web of Science and PubMed (2005-2007)). Eligible studies measured patient decision role preferences, described measures, presented findings as percentages or mean scores and were published in English from any country. Studies were compared by patient population, time of publication, and measure.

Results: 115 studies were eligible. The majority of patients preferred sharing decisions with physicians in 63% of the studies. A time trend appeared. The majority of respondents preferred sharing decision roles in 71% of the studies from 2000 and later, compared to 50% of studies before 2000. Measures themselves, in addition to patient population, influenced the preferred decision roles reported.

Conclusion: Findings appear to vary with the measure of preferred decision making used, time of the publication and characteristics of the population.

Practice implications: The role preference measure itself must be considered when interpreting patient responses to a measure or question about a patient's preference for decision roles.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Communication*
  • Decision Making*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Personal Autonomy*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*