Shared decision making is when health professionals and patients work together. This puts people at the centre of decisions about their own treatment and care. During shared decision making, it's important that:

  • care or treatment options are fully explored, along with their risks and benefits
  • different choices available to the patient are discussed 
  • a decision is reached together with a health and social care professional.

Benefits of shared decision making

  • Both people receiving and delivering care can understand what's important to the other person.
  • People feel supported and empowered to make informed choices and reach a shared decision about care.  
  • Health and social care professionals can tailor the care or treatment to the needs of the individual.

We support shared decision making through our guidance and tools

For people receiving care

  • The care and support you receive should take into account your needs and preferences.
  • You have the right to be involved in discussions, and make decisions about your treatment and care, together with your health or care professional.
  • 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 of our guidelines to highlight 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.

Read our shared learning case study with Advancing Quality Alliance (AQuA). AQuA worked with 32 national teams to share and embed a culture of shared decision making. They developed training resources, patient engagement leaflets, decision grids, recording mechanisms and case studies.


Patient decision aids


NICE patient decision aids

We have created a collection of patient decision aids and other decision support tools that we add to as we develop our guidance.

Our process guide outlines how we develop NICE patient decision aids. The guide will be reviewed and revised regularly as our decision aids evolve. 

NICE evidence search

NICE evidence search allows you to search for patient decision aids developed by other producers. We are adding to the collection all the time so if something is missing let us know.

Shared decision making collaborative

We're working with partner organisations to support the wider health and care system to embed shared decision making into routine practice. The aim is to ensure that people who deliver and receive care work together to select tests, treatments and support, based on evidence and what really matters to the individual.

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

Who's involved

There are over 40 organisations working together, including:

  • Academy of Medical Royal Colleges
  • Advancing Quality Alliance
  • General Medical Council
  • Health Education England
  • Healthwatch England
  • NHS England and NHS RightCare
  • NICE - and Patients Involved in NICE (PIN)
  • Newcastle University
  • University of Leeds

What's happening

Our organisations have come together to see how we can make shared decision making part of everyday care.

  • Read our consensus statement (pdf) - our joint recommendations to encourage a shared decision making culture.
  • Read our joint action plan (pdf) - how these recommendations will be put into practice.

Since the launch of our action plan

Since the launch of our action plan, members of the collaborative have been working hard to support shared decision making. In 2017:

  • We updated the way we develop guidance to include shared decision making as one of the considerations for our guideline committees. We’re asking them to identify preference sensitive decision points as they consider the evidence about treatment and care and to present that evidence in a way that supports conversations between healthcare professionals and people accessing care.
  • The General Medical Council has published its generic professional capabilities framework. The framework sets out the behaviours, skills and knowledge that doctors in training should demonstrate and includes those that support shared decision making.
  • Health Education England has developed a core skills and education framework entitled: ‘Person-centred approaches: Empowering people in their lives and communities to enable an upgrade in prevention, wellbeing, health, care and support’. This framework outlines person-centred approaches to ensure that care is tailored to people’s needs. This includes shared decision making, outlining all reasonable options and ensuring that all information is personalised, accessible and useful.
  • Health Education East of England and the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) Programme have launched to improve conversations about health and support behaviour change. Health coaching is a key component of this approach and supports shared decision making conversations.
The leading organisations in our health service are joining forces and committing to a future that will see improved patient-centred care for everyone.  It’s not just about the words on a page, it’s about making it happen and ensuring that shared decision making becomes an essential part of medical practice.

David Haslam, NICE Chair

Read David's blog