New data shows patients want more involvement in healthcare decisions

The Personalised Care Institute (PCI) is encouraging healthcare professionals to refresh their shared decision making (SDM) knowledge after new data from the GP Patient Survey¹ revealed that people want to be more involved in their healthcare decisions. 

The annual population survey, completed by 719,137 patients in 2022, found that 44.6% of patients want more involvement than they currently have in their healthcare decisions – the highest proportion since the question was first asked in 2018. The proportion of patients who felt they were “not at all” involved in decisions about their care was also at a record level – rising significantly from 7.1% in 2021 to 10.1% this year. 

Research consistently shows that SDM leads to better patient/clinician relationships, improved adherence to advice, reduced treatment regret and increased satisfaction with the outcome.² Yet, while clinicians are well-versed in the principles of SDM, changing patient expectations suggest a growing gap between what patients want and what clinicians believe they want based on past experience.

To adapt to these changing expectations and ensure best outcomes, the PCI, the official body for personalised care training, is encouraging healthcare professionals to complete its free 30-minute SDM eLearning refresher or engage in deeper learning by attending one of the face-to-face courses it accredits. The quality-assured refresher module includes sections on decision aids, risk and consent and uses case studies to bring the learnings to life. 

Nine out of ten healthcare professionals who have taken the eLearning course say it will improve their daily practice and eight of ten strongly agreed that the training further developed their current skills. 

Dr Emma Hyde, Clinical Director of the PCI, said: “The world is constantly changing to give people more choice and control over their lives – and this is especially the case in healthcare.

“As healthcare professionals, we are well-versed in the principles of shared decision making, however pressures of time coupled with changes in patient expectations have created a growing perception gap between what patients truly want and what we often believe they want.

“Our free SDM refresher module takes just 30 minutes to complete and provides a convenient way to revisit the topic and expand knowledge. Developed and peer-reviewed by national subject leaders, we hope that this training will empower healthcare professionals with the knowledge, skills and confidence to engage patients to the level they want, in order to achieve best outcomes.”

Ollie Hart, Clinical Director at Heely Plus Primary Care Network and Director at Peak Health Coaching, said: “In my experience as a GP and PCN clinical director, the skills and practice of shared decision making are crucial to sustainable healthcare. More engaged patients make for a more enjoyable and collaborative approach that helps patients feel better about their care, and ultimately achieves better health outcomes. Shared decision making also takes pressure off clinicians and improves relationships and trust, enhancing their wellbeing and job satisfaction. I see patient involvement and staff wellbeing as the two key factors in a sustainable and high quality future NHS. This module from the PCI is very welcome.”

Talking about the benefits of Shared Decision Making, patient, Stephen Lupton, said: “Shared decision-making helped the side-effects I’d been having become more manageable. It empowered me to take greater control of my mental health and build an incredibly trusting relationship with my consultant.”

The PCI’s free, 30-minute shared decision making eLearning module, can be accessed here while a list of PCI accredited courses can be found here.

¹ NHS. GP Patient Survey 2022. 
² NHS England. About Shared Decision Making. Accessed 2022.

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