The most important component of SDM is effectively engaging and educating patients. There are many considerations, from determining health literacy, to assessing confidence levels, to ascertaining primary languages spoken, to weighing willingness to even participate. Communication strategies, tools, and best practices must provide pathways and resources to easily tackle it all.
Research has shown us that patient engagement not only improves the patient experience, but leads to healthcare business success. Consider these outcomes:
The use of patient decision aids in shared decision making for preference-sensitive conditions has been shown to reduce patients' selection of major elective invasive surgery in favor of more conservative treatment options.
In a 2008 report prepared for the Commonwealth Fund, researchers estimated that, with the implementation of shared decision making for 11 preference-sensitive procedures, the savings to national health spending would be approximately $3.8 billion over 5 years and $9.2 billion over 10 years.
Introduction of SDM patient aids lowered cardiac ED admissions by 19% (https://patientengagementhit.com/news/shared-decision-making-reduces-cardiac-admissions-from-the-ed).
Patients who opt out of expensive treatments they deem unnecessary may be more likely to experience lasting results from chosen treatments.
Stacey D., Légaré F., Col N.F., et al. Decision aids for people facing health treatment or screening decisions. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2014 Jan 28;1:CD001431. PMID: 24470076.
O'Connor A.M., Llewellyn-Thomas, H.A., Flood, A.B. Modifying unwarranted variations in health care: shared decision making using patient decision aids. Health Aff (Millwood) 2004;Suppl Variation:VAR63-72. PMID: 15471770.
Schoen C., Guterman S., Shih A., et al., Bending the curve: options for achieving savings and improving value in U.S. health spending. The Commonwealth Fund. Commission on a High Performance Health System. December 2007.https://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/fund-reports/2007/dec/bending-curve-options-achieving-savings-and-improving-value-us
Patient Confidence & Knowledge
To easily assess the confidence and knowledge levels of your patients, consider using the easy-to-implement, quick, 4-question Health Confidence Scores Questionnaire.