3 Steps to Vitalize Shared Decision-Making


Tue Mar 29 13:00:26 CDT 2016

As more healthcare organizations move toward a value-based care reimbursement model, it may seem that nothing short of complete system overhaul will allow organizations to meet every one of the patient-centered goals laid out by the Affordable Care Act. Yet, in order to do repairs with the engine running, it is helpful to prioritize and tackle goals first that will have the most widespread impact.


One of the best places to start is integrating shared decision-making practices between providers and patients. Shared decision-making occurs when multiple treatment options are possible and doctors collaborate with their patients on medical and financial decisions. According a policy analysis study conducted by the National Institute for Health Care Reform, when patients are empowered with tools and comprehensive information about their treatment options, they are much more likely to adhere to their chosen treatment plan, which in turn reduces readmission rates and raises patient satisfaction scores.


A good first step toward implementing shared decision- making is adding in reminders or other effective prompts for clinicians in an electronic health records (EHR) interface. When doctors use EHRs to order specific tests or prescriptions, EHRs can also prompt the doctor to access a patient decision aid and begin a discussion with the patient about the possible treatment options and prices.


A second step toward a better shared decision making process is providing incentives.  For doctors already working within value-based care models, the time and effort spent discussing options with patients can improve the patient experience. Shared decision-making is also a great strategy for doctors to improve patient outcomes –the more informed and involved the patient is, the better they understand how to take care of themselves and are more accountable for their care


Another simple, yet effective step is applying for grants to create better patient decision aids. The Affordable Care Act mandated HHS to establish a program to improve shared decision making, which includes awarding grants to healthcare providers to create and improve patient-decision aids.


How is your organization integrating shared decision making? Tell us in the comments field below.