Shared Decision-Making

What is Shared Decision-Making?

Shared Decision-Making (… deh-SIH-zhun MAY-king)

Shared decision making is a joint process in which a healthcare professional works together with a person to reach a decision about care.


It involves choosing tests and treatments based both on evidence and on the person’s individual preferences, treatment goals, beliefs, and values.


This collaborative dialogue between patient and physician ensures that the patient understands the treatment options, benefits, and potential risks of available treatment options.



  • It allows patients to discuss and share information, ensuring patients have a good understanding of the benefits, risks and possible outcomes of different options.
  • It empowers patients to make decisions about the treatment and care that is right for them at that time, including choosing to continue with their current treatment or choosing no treatment at all.
  • It allows patients the opportunity to choose the degree to which they want to engage in decision-making. Some patients may prefer not taking an active role in making decisions with their healthcare professionals.1
A middle aged woman of African decent, sits up on an exam table as she talks with her doctor about her health concerns. She is dressed casually and her female doctor is seated across from her in a white lab coat as the two carry on a discussion.

What are the communication methods for Shared Decision-Making?

Your healthcare provider may send you shared decision making questions electronically or discuss them with you in person utilizing an iPad, a form, or by talking to you. Methods of communication may include email, apps, iPad, mail, and in-office forms.

How can I prepare for my appointment?


  • Create a symptom log
  • Think about questions to ask your healthcare provider
  • Know what is most important to you about a treatment
  • Understand your personal treatment goals


  • Listen to your patient
  • Reassure your patient when appropriate
  • Refer your patients out when appropriate
  • Review all treatment options (both surgical and medical), along with risks and benefits of each, with your patient
  • Discuss what to expect after the treatment and the risk of recurrence
  • Inform patient when to follow-up
  • Ensure a shared-decision is reached with the patient

Where should the conversation take place?

When discussing your Shared Decision-Making plan, the patient’s comfort and understanding of the treatment options available is a priority. At no time should the patient have to engage in a conversation when they feel vulnerable (i.e., when wearing a hospital gown). Ideally, a treatment plan will be discussed outside of the examination room in a location such as the healthcare provider’s office. A video call or phone conversation may also be utilized to discuss your Shared Decision options.

When should I follow-up with my doctor?

Your healthcare provider may recommend for you to have tests or labs done and then to follow- up with them. Ask your healthcare provider about how soon after having the testing done that they want to see you again, as well as whether they want to see you in person or via phone or video call. If after your initial visit you have more questions, follow up with your provider about these questions and/or next steps.

What are fibroid topics of concern?

Each patient will have individual priorities for treatment. Fibroid treatment topics of concern may include:

  • Pain
  • Fertility
  • Pain with sex
  • Amount of bleeding
  • Partner education

Following your visit, you should feel informed and have the tools that you need to have a positive experience. You should feel that you have resources, and that you are not alone in your decision-making journey.