The President’s Corner: March 2014

A Toast to Shared Decision Making

Michael J. Barry, MD

Cheers to all who joined us for Shared Decision Making (SDM) Month 2014. Whether you contributed to or participated in one of the month’s activities, shared our digital freebies or distributed shared decision making materials, you were a voice for shared decision making and we thank you. We are in awe of the fantastic response we received once again from patients, advocates, providers, researchers, policy makers and systems of care around the world. The interest in making shared decision making a reality has been so inspiring, and will continue to guide us as we work toward widespread adoption of shared decision making.

SDM Month 2014 highlighted the critical role of patients in health care and the importance of involving them in not just their care, but in the design of the entire system. We saw the desire that many patients have for becoming involved and the need for patients to provide the “pull” for shared decision making. We also saw the potential for changes in health care policy to be a significant “push” for shared decision making, especially through health information technology.

Throughout the month we also looked at how shared decision making has evolved over time by highlighting critical milestones and the organizations and individuals behind those accomplishments. While we look to the past for guidance, it’s crucial that we focus on where we are going and how we ensure success. We’ve been working for 25 years to inform and amplify the patient’s voice in health care decisions and our staff is excited about the future of shared decision making as we embark on a new adventure.

As of April 1, 2014, the Foundation and Healthwise merged as a “force for good” to help people make better health decisions. By joining forces, we will be able to further extend the value of shared decision making into mainstream care and help over 160 million patients a year make decisions that are right for them. As one organization we will take what we have learned and gained through SDM Month as we work to inform and amplify each person’s voice.

We hope that you enjoyed SDM Month 2014 and are inspired to take your new knowledge and resources into the real world and make a difference. As we start our own new chapter, we look forward to continuing to work with all of you to create a more affordable, compassionate and truly patient- and family-centered health care system.

May the future of shared decision making continue to shine bright!

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