Objective: Many factors influence a patient's preference in engaging in shared decision making (SDM). Several training programs have been developed for teaching SDM to physicians, but none of them focused on the patients' preferences. We developed an SDM training program for rheumatologists with a specific focus on patients' preferences and assessed its effects.
Methods: A training program was developed, pilot tested, and given to 30 rheumatologists. Immediately after the training and 10 weeks later, rheumatologists were asked to complete a questionnaire to evaluate the training. Patients were asked before and after the training to complete a questionnaire on patient satisfaction.
Results: Ten weeks after the training, 57% of the rheumatologists felt they were capable of estimating the need of patients to engage in SDM, 62% felt their communication skills had improved, and 33% reported they engaged more in SDM. Up to 268 patients were included. Overall, patient satisfaction was high, but there were no statistically significant differences in patient satisfaction before and after the training.
Conclusion: The training was received well by the participating rheumatologists. Even in a population of rheumatologists that communicates well, 62% reported improvement. The training program increased awareness about the principles of SDM in patients and physicians, and improved physicians' communicative skills, but did not lead to further improvement in patients' satisfaction, which was already high.
Keywords: OUTCOME ASSESSMENT; PHYSICIAN PRACTICE PATTERNS; RHEUMATIC DISEASES.