What Is Shared Decision Making?

​Victor Montori, MD, MSc, Professor of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota

Learning Objectives: At the end of this activity, you will be able to:

  • Define shared decision making.
  • Compare shared decision making with traditional patient-clinician communication.
  • Identify at least one perceived barrier to using shared decision making with patients.

Description: Victor Montori, MD, MSc, a Professor of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, is pioneering the concept of shared decision making. What is shared decision making and how can it improve care for patients? Dr. Montori, who was a special interest keynote speaker at IHI’s 24th Annual National Forum, explains in these videos.

In part one of a two-part interview with Dr. Montori, we hear about the idea of shared decision making and how it can potentially change health care. Before hearing what he has to say, what do you think?

  1. In the context of health care, what does “shared decision making” mean to you? How is this different from traditional patient-clinician communication?
  2. Why do you think some people in health care might be skeptical of shared decision making?
  3. How do you think shared decision making could improve health care? Do you think it could contribute to a “patient revolution?”


In part two, Montori walks us through how to use some innovative tools with chronic care patients and shares a touching — and humorous — story about an elderly man. 


Discussion Questions:

  1. Reflect on the story of the 92-year-old man. Why did Dr. Montori choose to tell that one when asked about the benefits of the tools?
  2. Do you have a story of how shared decision making made a difference in a patient’s care? The patient could be a patient of yours, a friend or family member, or yourself.
  3. Have you encountered any tools in your experience that have helped empower patients’ to take charge of their own care? Describe how the tools worked and what you thought of them, including any ways they could be improved. 
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