The importance of shared decision making starts before we are born and continues with the choices we make about how we die. This year’s Shared Decision Making (SDM) Month included inspiring and thought-provoking presentations—across the life span—from national and international experts. In case you missed it or you just want a recap, here are a few of the highlights from SDM Month 2015.
“Shared decision making has been extensively studied, and it’s time to move more aggressively to real-world applications,” said Karen Merrikin, JD. Karen is a leader in the federally funded Healthier Washington innovation plan, where SDM is a key component of efforts to reward the quality, not the quantity, of care provided to state residents.
On the east coast, efforts are well under way in Maine to provide guidance to patients about how to identify “yellow-light” situations when they should slow down and consider their options and values. We learned about these efforts from Nancy Morris of the Maine Health Management Coalition, who is a leader in the state’s Value-Based Insurance Design initiative.
Brynn Rubinstein, MPH, of the Pacific Business Group on Health’s (PBGH) Transform Maternity Care program, reminded us that “pregnancy care, childbirth care, is probably the most preference-sensitive care you can get.” PBGH’s project aims to support their member organizations in bringing high-quality patient engagement and shared decision making to their employees, with the goal of providing higher-quality, more affordable care for pregnant women.
While physicians play a critical role in shared decision making, Dawn Stacey, RN, PhD, CON(C) reminded us that “Nurses are critical members of the health care team and are a key for successful implementation of SDM.” And Nancy Rothman, EdD, RN, who works with vulnerable populations in Philadelphia, noted that “Nursing always has had the perspective that we care for the patient, with the patient.”
While shared decision making is often thought to rely on decision aids, Dr. Angelo Volandes believes that “The Conversation” is even more important to ensure that the care we receive at the end of life matches our goals and values. “The success of this essential conversation … lies not in the individual path chosen, but rather in the active and fully informed participation of the patient and family members” he said.
That’s just a small sample of the insights and experiences shared by our contributors during SDM Month 2015. You can find recordings of all the webinars and read blog posts on the importance of provider skills training in SDM by David Arterburn, MD; on personal narratives from Leslie Kelly Hall; on the power of information to transform our role as patients by Susan Edgman-Levitan, PA; and more.
SDM Month unites experts from around the world to bring shared decision making to mainstream health care. If you’d like to be part of this initiative next year, please let us know.