SHARE - Sharing information with health professionals

SHARING information with health professionals

People make decisions all the time – many are simple, and many involve multiple choices with multiple possible outcomes.

Making good decisions is a combination of your health professional’s expert knowledge of medicine and your knowledge about your individual lifestyle, preferences and needs – so it is really important that you and your doctor make the decision together.

Shared decision-making is a term used to describe an approach to health care consultations where the health professional and the patient are partners in the decision process. (This could be with a doctor, nurse or another health professional, a physio for example).

What this means is:

  • The patient and health professional take part in the decision-making
  • There is a two-way flow of information between the health professional and the patient
  • A decision is made when both the health professional and the patient agree on the most appropriate plan of action (For example this could be a treatment, a test or a type of surgery).

Over recent years, the public have increased their expectation of being fully informed about healthcare and available tests or treatment options.

Acceptance of “medical paternalism”, the idea that a doctor doesn’t tell patients lots of details and makes decisions on their behalf, is much less common than it was a few decades ago.