Decisions about tests, medications, procedures, referrals, or health behaviors are an integral component of many medical encounters, and collaborative decision making, also known as shared decision making (SDM), is frequently advocated in teaching, research, and policy regarding patient-centered interaction as a way to improve everyday clinical practice. At root, SDM is a process through which providers and patients work together to make decisions. It is most relevant in preference-sensitive decisions, in which there are legitimate treatment options that different people may view in different ways.

The term shared decision making was first defined by the President's Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine and Biomedical and Behavioral Research in its report “Making Health Care Decisions,” which focused on informed consent. This report was published ...

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