Talking about Shared Decision Making

Project Aim

This projects aimed to develop a new resource for patients, public and clinicians to support Shared Decision Making between patients and those who provide their care.

Project Benefits/Outcomes

Following on from this successful project, the Knowledge Team have continued to work in the field of Shared Decision Making and, since 2012, have been running a lively Community of Interest for all those involved in this work; especially those working in primary care, whether commissioners or providers.  If you are interested in this parallel project, please follow the links in the box to your left.


DH contacted Thames Valley HIEC to help them develop their policy in the area of shared decision making. The result was a project with Healthtalkonline that presents patients’ narratives of their experiences, both positive and negative, in decisions about their own care.

Project Summary 

 Based on extensive analysis of patient interviews across a broad spectrum of illnesses, the research revealed wide variations in the degree to which patients are – or want to be – involved in decisions about their treatment.

Sue Ziebland, Director of the Health Experiences research group, University of Oxford and leader of this project, commented:

People do not always feel that they can tell their doctors how much (or how little) they want to be involved in making health decisions. The hundreds of interview clips that we have looked at for this new website show that, despite changes in the way that people talk to their doctors,  there is still a real spectrum  of consultation styles ranging from fairly directive approaches through shared decisions to a more  consumerist model.  We were struck that there is no simple pattern of preferences and that people facing serious, life threatening or long term illnesses describe consultations  across the spectrum,  although clearly those who have had time to adjust to the fact of their diagnosis and to gather information are usually in a better position to discuss options with their doctors.”

The research was funded through the Department of Health’s Public and Patient Experience and Engagement Team. Andrew Lansley, Secretary of State for Health, said:

“The new website, is intended to help both patients and health professionals better understand the different types of relationship that they might share.”


Powerpoint Presentation: SDM 2

Healthtalk online

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