Patient Page

What is Medical Shared Decision Making?

Shared decision making is a collaborative process that allows patients and providers to make health care treatment decisions together, taking into account the best scientific evidence available, as well as the patient’s values and preferences. Shared decision making honors both the provider’s expert knowledge and the patient’s right to be fully informed of all care options and the potential harms and benefits. This process provides patients with the support they need to make the best individualized care decisions, while allowing providers to feel confident in the care they prescribe.

Patient decision aids complement shared decision making by helping patients understand their health condition, the available treatment and screening options, and the possible outcomes of these options.

Patient Resources

We do not provide direct patient care, individual decision support services or medical advice. We encourage you to ask your health care provider for information about the decision you are facing so that you can make the decision that is right for you. To assist you in talking with your health care provider and in making medical decisions, we have provided a number of shared decision making resources.

Foundation’s YouTube Patient Playlist

The Foundation’s patient playlist on YouTube contains videos to help you understand the importance of shared decision making.


Colleen shares how she made an informed decision to treat menopause.

Peter and his primary care provider reflect back on how together, they made the decision to stop screening for prostate cancer.

Patient Visit Guide (PDF 319 kb)

The Patient Visit Guide is designed to help patients work with their provider to make sure they have the information they need to make a fully informed decision.

AHRQ Effective Health Care Program

AHRQ’s program helps patients explore their treatment options.

HD Care Compass™ 

The HD Care Compass™ provides patients with guides on preparing for various tests and medical procedures.

Ottawa Personal Decision Guide (OPDG)

The Ottawa Personal Decision Guide (OPDG) is a general decision aid tool that can be used for any medical decision.

Cardiovascular Disease Risk Calculator

The National Cholesterol Education Program’s CVD Risk Calculator predicts a person’s chance of having a heart attack in the next ten years. is an unbiased evidence-based resource providing information about the benefits and risks of common screening programs and educating the public about the harms of overdiagnosis. Intended to help patients and families make informed decisions with their health care providers, is a project of The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice in partnership with the BMJ, Consumer Reports and Bond University.

Newcastle Hospital Patient and Visitor Guides

Newcastle Hospital’s section on shared decision making provides a short video, from the MAGIC Programme, on the three most important questions to ask your health care provider when making a decision. This section also provides more information on the need for patient’s to be involved in decisions about their health care.

Health Consumer Alliance

The Health Consumer Alliance has developed a “Know Your Rights Fact Sheet” encouraging patients to take charge of your health care.

Joint Commission’s Speak Up™ Program

The Joint Commission’s Speak Up™ program is a national campaign urging patients to take an active role in preventing medical errors in their health care. As part of the program, The Joint Commission has developed brochures, posters and videos available on its website.