Physician attitudes toward shared decision making: A systematic review

Patient Educ Couns. 2015 Sep;98(9):1046-57. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2015.05.004. Epub 2015 May 23.


Objective: Although evidence suggests that shared decision-making (SDM) can improve patient outcomes, uptake to date has been sparse. The purpose of this review was to determine the reported opinions of physicians regarding the use of SDM in clinical practice and to identify strategies to promote uptake.

Methods: We conducted a systematic review, including papers published between 2007 and 2014.

Results: The electronic search yielded 11,761 results. Following abstract review, 123 papers were selected for full text review, and 43 papers were included for analysis. Fourteen of the included studies considered SDM within the context of primary care, 25 in secondary care, and 4 in both.

Conclusions: Physicians express positive attitudes toward SDM in clinical practice, although the level of support varies by clinical scenario, treatment decision and patient characteristics.

Practice implications: Physician support for SDM is a necessary, if not sufficient, condition to facilitate meaningful SDM. In order to garner support for SDM, additional empirical evidence regarding the clinical and patient important outcomes must be established. Based on the results of this review, the authors suggest assessing the impact of SDM within the context of chronic disease management where multiple therapeutic options exist, and outcomes may be measured long-term.

Keywords: Patient–provider communication; Physician attitudes; Shared decision making.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Chronic Disease / prevention & control*
  • Clinical Decision-Making*
  • Decision Making*
  • Humans
  • Physicians / psychology*