Shared decision making is a joint process in which a healthcare professional works together with a person to reach a decision about care.

It involves choosing tests and treatments based both on evidence and on the person's individual preferences, beliefs and values.

It makes sure the person understands the risks, benefits and possible consequences of different options through discussion and information sharing.


  • 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 choosing to continue with their current treatment or choosing no treatment at all.
  • 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.

Supporting your shared decision making through our guidance and tools

We're working to help put it at the centre of the way care and treatment is given.

For people receiving care

  • The care and support you receive should be based on your needs and what matters most to you.
  • You have the right to be involved in decisions with your healthcare 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 have worked with Keele University to develop an online learning package that supports the shared decision making guideline. It aims to give healthcare professionals the skills and knowledge to have conversations with the people they are caring for.

We've updated all our guidance 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.

Patient decision aids

NICE patient decision aids (PDAs)

PDAs help people make informed choices about healthcare. This considers their personal values and preferences.

Our process guide outlines how we develop our PDAs.

Standards framework for shared decision making support tools, including PDAs

The framework is designed for people who use PDAs, whether they are patients or clinicians. It helps them determine if the quality of the PDAs is sufficient.

It includes a simple self-assessment tool for people who produce PDAs so that they can quality check their processes and products.

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 (Word).

The organisations we work with include:

  • Academy of Medical Royal Colleges
  • Advancing Quality Alliance
  • 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.

Guidance and quality standards for people delivering care

Our shared decision making guideline gives recommendations about how to put it into practice.

It advises how to engage people using healthcare services in making joint decisions and how to provide information resources before, during, and after appointments.

Our guidance

Our quality standards