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Shared Decision Making

Organization: Massachusetts General Hospital

Country: USA

Forum: Patient engagement

Since 2005, the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Shared Decision Making (SDM) program has been supporting patients and healthcare professionals to work together when making treatment decisions. The program covers 15 primary care practices that serve over 200,000 patients in Boston and the surrounding communities. It is based at the John D. Stoeckle Center for Primary Care Innovation and is delivered in close collaboration with the Health Decision Sciences Center at MGH.

Through the program, clinicians are able to electronically prescribe patient decision aids (PtDAs) on 35 common health topics, including cardiology, mental health, women’s health and orthopedics. Resources are available in DVD and booklet format and are mailed directly to the patient. The prescribing process is integrated with the electronic medical record system to ensure that the system is streamlined and efficient.

Shared Decision Making engages the patient in the healthcare decision-making process, provides accurate information about healthcare options and outcomes, and tailors medical treatments to patients’ goals and concerns.
The program also offers training and education in shared decision making to both clinicians and patients. Clinician training covers effective communication, including risk communication, skills and takes place in lunchtime workshops. The Health Decision Sciences Center hosts monthly educational sessions for patients, staff and the general public which focus on reviewing and discussing a particular decision aid.

By 2013, over 18,000 decision aids had been distributed by more than 730 unique healthcare professionals. Patients are also able to self-order decision aids prior to an appointment.

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