Ten Years, Forty Decision Aids, And Thousands Of Patient Uses: Shared Decision Making At Massachusetts General Hospital

Health Aff (Millwood). 2016 Apr;35(4):630-6. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2015.1376.


Shared decision making is a core component of population health strategies aimed at improving patient engagement. Massachusetts General Hospital's integration of shared decision making into practice has focused on the following three elements: developing a culture receptive to, and health care providers skilled in, shared decision making conversations; using patient decision aids to help inform and engage patients; and providing infrastructure and resources to support the implementation of shared decision making in practice. In the period 2005-15, more than 900 clinicians and other staff members were trained in shared decision making, and more than 28,000 orders for one of about forty patient decision aids were placed to support informed patient-centered decisions. We profile two different implementation initiatives that increased the use of patient decision aids at the hospital's eighteen adult primary care practices, and we summarize key elements of the shared decision making program.

Keywords: Decision Quality; Patient Decision Aids; Patient Engagement; Shared Decision Making.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Decision Making*
  • Decision Support Techniques*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Hospitals, General / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massachusetts
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration
  • Patient Participation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care*
  • Time Factors