Last week, MaineHealth, an Informed Medical Decisions Foundation demonstration site, held its first conference dedicated to shared decision making (SDM). The conference, entitled “Shared Decision Making: The Patient Voice in Health Care,” featured presentations from national and local experts on SDM, and focused on bringing the patient perspective into the health care delivery system.
“It’s great to see a leading provider organization like MaineHealth endorse and promote shared decision making as a core of patient-centered care,” says Richard Wexler, Foundation director of patient support strategies. “The conference helped everyone understand why SDM is so important and to see how it can become a reality rather than just a good idea.”
In their keynote address, Dr. John E. “Jack” Wennberg, Foundation co-founder, and Dave deBronkart, known online as e-Patient Dave, discussed the issue of unwarranted (or “geographic”) variation in rates of tests and procedures with a focus on Maine, and the role of patients in improving the health care they recieve by actively engaging with their providers.
The conference offered a number of breakout sessions throughout the day, where participants were able to hear about a range of topics including patient engagement, health literacy, decision support, end of life care, risk communication skills in medical training and incorporation of SDM into health benefit plans.
The Foundation was well represented at the conference. Karen Sepucha, one of our medical editors, described current scientific evidence on the impact of decision aids and SDM on decision quality, as well as where we need to focus our future research efforts in order to close the gap in current knowledge. Richard presented national findings on patient experience with decision aids in primary care settings.
Neil Korsen, SDM medical advisor at MaineHealth, brought the conference to a close by asking participants how they envisioned turning the information presented into action; participants were eager to share their innovative ideas.
We tweeted on behalf of MaineHealth (hashtag #MaineHealthSDM) and we’ve pulled together highlights from the conference’s social media activity using Storify.