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Implementing Shared Decision Making at the Point of Care

As the healthcare industry places greater emphasis on value-based care, many providers are searching for ways to enhance the patient experience while reducing overall costs. Recently, many providers have implemented Shared Decision Making (SDM) processes, which focus on delivering quality patient outcomes rather than the number of patients treated.

Today, many patients are ill-prepared to make informed health-based decisions on their own. While many health conditions have more than one medically acceptable treatment option –early-stage breast cancer, hip or knee osteoarthritis, or diabetes and other chronic conditions –patients and providers must work together to determine the best path of treatment. With SDM, they can do just that, as it enables patient-provider collaboration to more effectively select the evidence-based medical care that best fits each patient’s values and preferences.

The Need for SDM
According to research, fewer than 50 percent of patients today can answer more than one question about their health conditions correctly. Further, close to 33 percent of medical conditions have more than one treatment option, and 20-66 percent of providers know little about their patients’ treatment preferences.

To eliminate the risk of often unnecessary procedures and associated expenses, it is crucial that patients – especially those with preference-sensitive or chronic conditions – and their providers establish an open dialog to discuss potential treatment options and possible outcomes. Furthermore, to help patients explore their preferences and make decisions that are consistent with their values, access to evidence-based, unbiased decision aids and trained health coaches has been proven to be effective.

Implementing SDM
As the market shifts toward fee-for-value, SDM is becoming a major component of several government-mandated programs, including the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) and The U.S. Department of Health and human Services (HHS). Providers need to implement SDM into their practices now more than ever.

Here are five steps to effectively onboard and manage a population at the point of care:

  1. Build buy-in throughout an organization. To establish an effective SDM program, it must be an organizational priority. Senior leadership, management, and care teams must all be willing to support and drive SDM practices forward to achieve successful results.
  2. Create an on-boarding process. Educate the entire clinical team, making sure they understand the value of SDM. Make the integration processes as simple as possible, and provide financial incentives to further drive usage.
  3. Provide aids that produce outcomes. Offer engaging, high-quality decision aids that providers will endorse and patients will trust.
  4. Identify and engage patients. Promote SDM through patient materials, add drop-down menus in an EMR to serve as a reminder of available options when meeting with patients, and offer incentives to patients who view and engage with decision aids.
  5. Set realistic goals and measure the program. Determine desired results and track progress on key metrics including a decrease in costs, patient engagement, and reduction in preference-sensitive surgeries.

Proven Results
For more than 20 years, Health Dialog has provided SDM solutions to numerous health plans and providers. In that time, we’ve seen remarkable results, including a 13-16 percent reduction in medical costs associated with preference-sensitive conditions, 9.9 percent fewer preference-sensitive surgeries and 95 percent patient participation.

If you are interested in learning more about our SDM offerings or to understand what to do next, watch our webinar, “5 Steps to Implement Shared Decision Making,” or download our whitepaper, “Implementing Shared Decision Making at the Point of Care.”

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