Shared Decision Making
We often rely on our doctors to tell us what care we need. But to get the best care, you and your doctor should make decisions together. This process is called “shared decision making.” Your doctor shares medical expertise, and you share what you want out of your care. Then, you make a decision together.
Shared decision making is helpful if there is more than one way to treat your health problem, and there’s no clear “right” choice. Your doctor can give you a “decision aid,” which is often a flyer or video that explains the different choices and their risks and benefits. Decision aids also help you think through your own priorities and values. Then, you and your doctor can talk through the options and your questions.
Ask your doctor about her or his shared decision-making approach. If she or he does not have a formal approach, you can still take more control of your care by:
Asking your doctor about the pros and cons of each treatment.
Talking to your doctor about how much each option will cost, and whether there are lower cost treatments that work just as well.
Using educational decision aids or other tools to help you make the best decision.
Visiting websites and organizations for people with your health condition to connect with others who are going through the same experience.
Getting a better idea of what decision aids look like from the decision aids for patients with serious illnesses on this website and from Care That Fits.