Shared decision making leads to a better patient experience and higher levels of patient satisfaction

Posted on October 10, 2012. Filed under: Patient Experience, Post By Christy Whipple |

Shared decision making can reduce treatment disagreements, lead to more realistic expectations, reduce clinically unwarranted treatments, and potentially reduce litigation.
Christy Whipple

At Introcomm, we encourage hospitals to educate their patients, communicate with them and to engage. The embodiment of these principles is found in shared decision making. Shared decision making is the belief that patients and their clinicians can make equally valuable contributions when reaching a moment of truth in the patient’s healthcare.

While clinicians have medical knowledge and experience, patients know what they want from their treatment as well as which rehabilitation programs they are most likely to follow. Patients can be guided to work through any questions they may have, explore the options available, and take a treatment route which best suits their needs and expectations.

Shared decision making can reduce treatment disagreements, lead to more realistic expectations, reduce clinically unwarranted treatments, and potentially reduce litigation. Importantly, patients are more likely to continue on a course of action or treatment when they have chosen it, rather than a treatment that had been imposed upon them. Surveys have also shown that shared decision making leads to a better patient experience and higher levels of patient satisfaction.

Recent research shows that close to 70% of patients questioned preferred to be involved in medical decisions with their doctors. However, only 1 in 7 would actually disagree with their doctor over treatment. Most patients admitted that though they prefer to be involved, it would not be socially acceptable to challenge their doctor’s advice. Others stated that disagreeing with their physician would damage the relationship.

This idea of shared decision making isn’t exactly a brand new concept. In fact, in the UK, the National Health Foundation recently implemented a program distributing informational posters, leaflets, film clips and animation to encourage patients to get clear answers from their clinicians by asking three questions: “what are my options, what are the pros and cons of each option, and how do I get support to help me make a decision that is right for me?” Early indicators are promising. 80% of clinicians surveyed said that they felt receptive and were likely to implement shared decision making with their patients.

As stated by the Health Foundation, patients “need to be able to choose which dance they want, know the steps needed and be able to hear the music”. As shared decision making programs are implemented, it is hopeful that all parties will soon be dancing to the same tune.

To learn more contact us to schedule your complimentary, educational webinar.

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