Shared decision making: informing and involving patients to do the right thing in health care

J Ambul Care Manage. Apr-Jun 2012;35(2):90-8. doi: 10.1097/JAC.0b013e318249482f.


At the individual level, practicing high-quality medical care means doing the right thing for a patient as safely as possible. Some medical decisions have one optimal course of action, but most have multiple reasonable options with outcomes that will be valued differently by different people. For these preference-sensitive decisions, involving patients in a shared decision-making process is critical. Patient decision aids are tools that help make shared decision making practical. Policy changes at the federal and state level can help make shared decision making with the active participation of informed patients the rule rather than the exception.

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care*
  • Decision Making*
  • Disease Management
  • Health Literacy
  • Humans
  • Patient Participation*
  • Patient Preference
  • Power, Psychological*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Professional-Patient Relations*
  • Quality Improvement
  • United States