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Tools for Patients

When is Shared Decision Making needed?

Being engaged and informed in your health care decisions is always a good idea. Shared decision making is especially important as you weigh the pros and cons, such as when:

  • There is more than one reasonable option for screening or treatment
  • No option has a clear advantage
  • Possible benefits and risks of each option vary for each person

Shared decision making is helpful when a making big decision, such as whether to have major surgery, cancer screening, or genetic testing. It can also help inform and guide your actions when a particular option may not be covered by your insurer. In these cases, the best solution depends on your personal wishes and values as the patient. 

How does Shared Decision Making benefit you?

Being involved in the decision-making process can help you feel better about your care. Studies show that when decisions are made after thoughtful, informed discussions between patients and their doctors, patients often feel more comfortable with their care decisions, better understand the care they receive, and have greater confidence in their health care team. Patients are also more likely to stick to their care plan and experience better health outcomes.