What is shared-decision-making and why is it important?
Overuse of low-value healthcare and underuse of effective healthcare are deeply entrenched and both represent suboptimal care. Their drivers include: cognitive biases, poor communication, knowledge uncertainty, and structural and financial elements of health systems. Health systems are now striving to provide appropriate optimal, high-value care, which can be described as care that is patient-centred and where the benefits and harms are weighed up and informed by evidence. A key strategy to achieving this is shared decision making: a process which enables patients to make evidence-informed health decisions that are congruent with their values and preferences, after increasing the uptake of effective ones. It is a key component of most healthcare reform models and policies to emerge in recent years. Strategies that can be used to facilitate shared decision making include the use of patient decision aids, clinician training, and the integration of shared decision making tools into evidence syntheses such as guidelines.
Helping to facilitate shared decision-making
Research activities of the Centre for Evidence-Informed Health Decisions include the development and dissemination of patient decision aids and the development of online and interactive training courses in shared decision making. These courses enable clinicians of any discipline to complete an accredited training activity at a time and location that is convenient to them – thus overcoming some of the barriers to shared decision making uptake. The courses have been adopted by health organisations and various speciality colleges throughout Australia and the United Kingdom.
- E-Learning module Helping Patients Make Informed Decisions: Communicating benefits and risks.
- E-Learning module (GP version) Helping Patients Make Informed Decisions: Communicating benefits and harms
- for RACGP members, there’s a version available through RACGP’s GP Learning as an accredited activity which enables QI and CPD points to be earnt for completing it
- Short videos for clinicians on shared decision making:
- Patient decision aids for acute bronchitis, sore throat, and middle ear infection
Videos on shared decision making and acute respiratory infection
Health H.A.C.C. – How to Assess Claims Critically
These resources were developed to improve high school students’ critical thinking skills, particularly their ability to critically assess health claims and detect false claims. It covers fundamental information about research methods and processes for testing health interventions and explains the key concepts needed for appraising claims about health interventions.
Health H.A.C.C. aims to support teachers in educating students about these key concepts. The content is aimed at students in Years 7-9. However, it is also relevant for students in nearby year levels on either side of this target range. Having these skills will help young people be able to make informed health decisions based on reliable information, both now and throughout their life.