Training health professionals in shared decision-making: an international environmental scan

Patient Educ Couns. 2012 Aug;88(2):159-69. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2012.01.002. Epub 2012 Feb 1.


Objective: To identify and analyze training programs in shared decision-making (SDM) for health professionals.

Methods: We conducted an environmental scan looking for programs that train health professionals in SDM. Pairs of reviewers independently analyzed the programs identified using a standardized data extraction sheet. The developers of the programs validated the data extracted.

Results: We identified 54 programs conducted between 1996 and 2011 in 14 countries and 10 languages. Thirty-four programs targeted licensed health professionals, 10 targeted pre-licensure health professionals, and 10 targeted both. Most targeted only the medical profession (n=32); six targeted more than one health profession. The five most frequently mentioned teaching methods were case-based discussion, small group educational session, role play, printed educational material, and audit and feedback. Thirty-six programs reported having evaluated their impacts but evaluation data was available only for 17.

Conclusions: Health professional training programs in SDM vary widely in how and what they deliver, and evidence of their effectiveness is sparse.

Practice implications: This study suggests there is a need for international consensus on ways to address the variability in SDM training programs. We need agreed criteria for certifying the programs and for determining the most effective types of training.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Decision Making*
  • Environment
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Personnel / education*
  • Humans
  • Patient Participation*
  • Patient-Centered Care
  • Program Evaluation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires