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Shared Decision Making

When a patient is in a discussion with their health care provider, “there are two ‘experts’ in the room, the patient and the physician”.  (Neil Korsen, MD)

What is Shared Decision Making?

Shared Decision Making honors both the provider’s expert knowledge and the patient’s expert knowledge about what is important to them and what their healthcare goals are, as well as their right to be fully informed of all care options and the potential harms and benefits of their options, and to express their preferences and their values related to the decision at hand

Shared decision making (SDM) is a process that allows patients and their providers to:

  • Make health care decisions together
  • Use the best scientific evidence available, as well as the patient’s values and preferences. 
  • Honor both the provider’s expert knowledge and the patient’s right to be fully informed of all care options, including benefits and harms.
  • Provide patients with the support they need to make the best care decisions
  • Provide patients with the chance to express their own expertise, which relates to what their goals are and what is important to them. Without that expertise, knowing what the options are does not necessarily lead to a high quality decision.

Shared Decision Making Resources:

Our Healthwise Knowledgebase offers many shared decision making tools, called Decision Points, to help patients make informed decisions on medicines, surgeries, medical tests, and treatments. Your patients can access these tools on the MaineHealth website or through MyChart. MaineHealth providers can also embed a call to action and link to the tool directly in the patient’s after visit summary.  

MMP Spine Center Shared Decision video:

“At MMP Neurosurgery and Spine we consider shared decision-making as the first step to a provider patient partnership. “ (William D’Angelo MD)


Care and treatment of spine conditions can vary from patient to patient. A well informed patient makes decisions based on what they’ve learned and what’s best for them. Shared Decision Making engages the patient in their care which results in person-centered care. That level of engagement will most always lead to better follow through, outcomes, and patient satisfaction.

Cochrane Review:

“Cochrane Reviews are systematic reviews of primary research in human health care and health policy, and are internationally recognized as the highest standard in evidence-based health care resources,”  according to Cochrane, a global independent network of researchers, professionals, caregivers and patients. FMI click here
Read the latest Cochrane review on shared decision aids.