SMDM Core Course: Introduction to Shared Decision Making and Patient Decision Aids

17 April 2024
08.00 PDT/11.00 EDT/15.00 UTC/17.00 CEST

Course Faculty: 


Ellen Lipstein, MD, MPH is a professor of pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Her research focuses on understanding and improving the ways parents and patients with chronic conditions collaborate with healthcare providers to make treatment decisions. Specifically, she researches on shared decision making and how it can be used to engage parents, children and adolescents with chronic conditions in their care. Her current program of research uses both qualitative and quantitative methods to answer questions about how decisions are made, what help families need in making decisions and how healthcare providers can better support families’ decision making. Additionally, her team is involved in the development and testing of interventions aimed at addressing the decision making challenges.

Victoria Shaffer, PhD is a Quantitative Psychologist with a background in decision theory and behavioral economics. She received her PhD in Quantitative Psychology in 2005 from Ohio State University and is currently a Professor in the Quantitative division of the Department of Psychological Sciences at the University of Missouri. Her research has broadly focused on the development and testing of decision support tools for patients and physicians, with recent work exploring the role of patient narratives in health-related decisions and the development of data visualizations for the Electronic Health Record to inform shared decision making.


This course will be highly interactive. Course instructors will describe core concepts using a seminar format to ensure transmission of relevant information, but will also provide hands-on opportunities for participants to apply what they have learned to relevant tasks. For example, participants will have the opportunity to evaluate a sample decision support intervention using standard internationally recognized criteria, and they will have the opportunity to discuss a sample transcript of a clinician-patient decision discussion.

Background: Shared decision making provides a model for patients and their clinicians to engage in a deliberative, communicative process about health decisions in which there is no clear best option from an evidence standpoint. There is an increasing expectation, both nationally and internationally, that patients will be significant partners in decisions about their health. Therefore, it is critical to better understand the state of the science of shared decision making.

Description and Objectives: This is one of the four core short courses of the permanent SMDM curriculum. The SMDM curriculum is a new initiative of the Society with the goal of having a set of introductory-level core courses in foundational aspects of medical decision making. This effort serves the core mission of the Society to educate its members in key content areas, including decision modeling, cost-effectiveness analysis, the psychology of medical decision making, and shared decision making.

This course will provide participants with the fundamental components of shared decision making. Specifically, participants will learn the basics about shared decision making including why it is important, how it differs from other related clinical tools (e.g., motivational interviewing, evidence based medicine) and what shared decision making has been proven to do (and not do). We will also discuss how shared decision making occurs in practice, particularly how it can be improved in patient-physician discussions and how risk communication methods can improve decision making. We will briefly describe other interventions, such as decision support interventions, can promote shared decision making. Additionally, we will discuss evaluation measures for evaluating decision quality and decision aids.  We will end by discussing implementation of shared decision making, particularly in terms of challenges from patients and clinicians perspectives.




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