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Shared decision making

A key component of Healthier Washington is consumer engagement: Empowering people to share in the decision-making when it comes to their own health and the health of their families.

What is shared decision making?

Shared decision making is a process that allows patients and their providers to make health care decisions together, taking into account the best scientific evidence available, as well as the patient’s values and preferences.

How is shared decision making being implemented?

Healthier Washington is engaging the health care community to spread shared decision making through the following Healthier Washington investment areas:

  • Accountable Care Programs: Two ACPs are integrating shared decision making strategies into their practices and the use of certified decision aids at testing sites.
  • Practice Transformation Support Hub: Through the Hub, providers will have the opportunity to participate in training for implementation of shared decision making strategies.

What are patient decision aids?

Patient decision aids are tools that can help people engage in shared health decisions with their health care provider. Research shows that use of patient decision aids leads to increased knowledge, more accurate risk perception, and fewer patients remaining passive or undecided about their care. For example, a patient decision aid could help a pregnant woman who previously had a cesarean section to determine if she is a good candidate for a vaginal birth after cesarean.

How do we ensure the quality of patient decision aids?

Washington State law recognizes that certification plays a significant role in assuring the quality of decision aids used by consumers, providers and payers.

With a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, we have been working with state and national stakeholders to develop a process to certify high quality patient decision aids for use by providers and their patients in Washington State. Washington State’s leadership in creating the decision aid certification process provides a model that other states can adopt.

HCA began accepting patient decision aids for certification in April 2016. A list of certified patient decision aids will be available to the public upon completion of each certification process.


Email: shareddecisionmaking@hca.wa.gov
Name: Laura Pennington​, practice transformation manager
Phone: 360-725-1231