Shared decision making is a joint process. It allows a health and care professional to support a person to reach a decision about their care. 

Health and care professionals work together with people who use health and care services, their families, and carers. They help them to choose tests, treatments, management or support packages.

These choices are based on evidence and personal informed preferences, health beliefs, and values.

Benefits of shared decision making

  • It allows people to discuss and share information. This makes sure people have a good understanding of the benefits, harms and possible outcomes of different options.
  • It empowers people to make decisions about the treatment and care that is right for them at that time. This includes the option to do nothing.
  • It allows people the opportunity to choose to what degree they want to engage in decision making. Some people prefer not to take an active role in making decisions with their healthcare professionals.

We support shared decision making through our guidance and tools

We support shared decision making in several ways. We are working to help put it at the centre of the way care and treatment is provided.

For people receiving care

  • The care and support you receive should consider your needs and preferences.
  • You have the right to be involved in discussions with your health or care professional. You should be able to make those decisions together.
  • Patient decision aids support conversations and help patients make informed choices. We've developed several tools to support shared decision making for specific conditions.

Read more about making decisions about your care.

For people delivering care

We've updated all our guidelines. We have highlighted the importance of balancing professional judgment and expertise with the needs and wishes of people receiving care.

Read more about making decisions using NICE guidelines.

Patient decision aids

NICE patient decision aids

Patient decision aids help people make informed choices about healthcare. This considers their personal values and preferences.

Our process guide (PDF) outlines how we develop our patient decision aids. The guide will get reviewed and updated as our decision aids evolve.

NICE evidence search

You can also use our evidence search to search for patient decision aids developed by other producers.

We are adding to the collection all the time so if something is missing then let us know.

Shared decision making collaborative

We work with over 40 partner organisations. With them, we support the wider health and care system to put shared decision making into routine practice. The aim is to make sure that people who deliver and receive care work together to provide what matters to the individual.

Our joint recommendations to encourage a shared decision making culture can be read in our consensus statement (PDF).

Our joint action plan (PDF) shows how these recommendations will be put in place.

The organisations we work with include:

  • Academy of Medical Royal Colleges
  • Advancing Quality Alliance (A Q u A)
  • General Medical Council
  • Health Education England
  • Healthwatch England
  • NHS England and NHS Improvement
  • Newcastle University
  • University of Leeds

To get involved or to find out more, contact our shared decision making team by email.