Shared Decision Making in Pediatrics: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Acad Pediatr. 2015 Nov-Dec;15(6):573-83. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2015.03.011. Epub 2015 May 14.


Background: Little is known about the impact of interventions to support shared decision making (SDM) with pediatric patients.

Objectives: To summarize the efficacy of SDM interventions in pediatrics on patient-centered outcomes.

Data sources: We searched Ovid Medline, Ovid Embase, Ovid Cochrane Library, Web of Science, Scopus, and Ovid PsycInfo from database inception to December 30, 2013, and performed an environmental scan.

Study eligibility criteria: We included interventions designed to engage pediatric patients, parents, or both in a medical decision, regardless of study design or reported outcomes.

Study appraisal and synthesis methods: We reviewed all studies in duplicate for inclusion, data extraction, and risk of bias assessment. Meta-analysis was performed on 3 outcomes: knowledge, decisional conflict, and satisfaction.

Results: Sixty-one citations describing 54 interventions met eligibility criteria. Fifteen studies reported outcomes such that they were eligible for inclusion in meta-analysis. Heterogeneity across studies was high. Meta-analysis revealed SDM interventions significantly improved knowledge (standardized mean difference [SMD] 1.21, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.26 to 2.17, P = .01) and reduced decisional conflict (SMD -1.20, 95% CI -2.01 to -0.40, P = .003). Interventions showed a nonsignificant trend toward increased satisfaction (SMD 0.37, 95% CI -0.04 to 0.78, P = .08).

Limitations: Included studies were heterogeneous in nature, including their conceptions of SDM.

Conclusions and implications of key findings: A limited evidence base suggests that pediatric SDM interventions improve knowledge and decisional conflict, but their impact on other outcomes is unclear.

Systematic review registration number: PROSPERO CRD42013004761 (

Keywords: adolescent; child; child, preschool; decision aids; decision making; decision making, shared; decision support techniques; infant; infant, newborn; pediatrics.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Decision Making*
  • Decision Support Techniques*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Patient Participation*
  • Pediatrics*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Professional-Family Relations*