A descriptive model of shared decision making derived from routine implementation in clinical practice ('Implement-SDM'): Qualitative study

Patient Educ Couns. 2019 Oct;102(10):1774-1785. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2019.07.016. Epub 2019 Jul 15.


Objective: Research is needed to understand how Shared Decision-Making (SDM) is enacted in routine clinical settings. We aimed to 1) describe the process of SDM between clinicians and patients; 2) examine how well the SDM process compares to a prescriptive model of SDM, and 3) propose a descriptive model based on observed SDM in routine practice.

Methods: Patients with chronic kidney disease and early stage breast cancer were recruited consecutively via Cardiff and Vale University Health Board (UK) teams. Consultations were audio-recorded, transcribed and thematically analysed.

Results: Seventy-six consultations were observed: 26 pre-dialysis consultations and two consultations each for 25 breast cancer patients. Key stages of the 'Three Talk Model' were observed. However, we also observed more elements and greater complexity: a distinct preparation phase; tailored and evolving integrative option conversation; patients and clinicians developing 'informed preferences'; distributed and multi-stage decisions; and a more open-ended planning discussion. Use of decision aids was limited.

Conclusion: A more complex picture was observed compared with previous portrayals in current theoretical models.

Practice iimplications: The model can provide a basis for future training and initiatives to promote SDM, and tackle the gap between what is advocated in policy, but rarely achieved in practice.

Keywords: Breast cancer; Chronic kidney disease; Patient centred care; Patient involvement; Shared decision making; Skills training.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Communication
  • Decision Making, Shared*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy*
  • Male
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Wales