Are You Sharing the Decision Making with Your Patients?

Shared Decision Making

posted by Kathy Everitt on Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Many naturopathic doctors believe they are already making shared decisions with their patients. However, they may be confusing the informed consent process with a shared decision-making process.

Shared decision making is a collaborative process that allows patients and their providers to make healthcare decisions together.  It does not replace the informed consent process but enhances it.

The informed consent discussion reviews the risks, benefits and alternatives of a specific treatment, including the option of doing nothing. Shared decision making takes place before the informed consent discussion and goes beyond it to recognize and discuss the patient’s values and preferences. 

With shared decision making, you:

S – Seek the patient’s participation

H – Help your patient explore and compare treatment options

A – Assess the patient’s values and preferences

R – Reach a decision with the patient

E – Evaluate the patient’s decision (review and revisit)

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has a wide range of tools and training materials to incorporate the shared decision-making model into your practice. 

Shared decision making has been recognized as enhancing the quality of care, better aligning expectations, managing costs, and improving patient satisfaction and outcomes. While there is not yet evidence to confirm it, it’s likely that shared decision making mitigates risk.

Shared decision making can be incorporated in every aspect of your practice: 

  • Single treatment situations
  • Multiple treatment scenarios
  • Preventative care/screening decisions
  • Chronic care decisions
  • Lifestyle discussions
  • Life stages (lifelong care) consultations

Once shared decision making becomes part of your patient-centered care, make sure to document the conversations. 

If you have any questions about shared decision making, as a policyholder, you can call NCMIC's Claims Advice Hotline at 800-952-9935.



  1. claims
  2. malpractice
  3. naturopathic
  4. risk management

About The Author

Kathy Everitt

Kathy brings with her more than 30 years of professional liability experience to NCMIC, encompassing underwriting, sales management, as well as risk management consultation services for healthcare professionals. She has earned her CPHRM designation and, as a licensed property/casualty agent, Kath ... read more

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