What is Shared Decision Making?

Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 2.24.57 PMOncofertility Communication: Sharing Information and Building Bridges across Disciplines is divided into two parts.  Part I is Communicating with Patients and Their Families and outlined in Chapters 1-10.  Part II, Communicating with Healthcare Professionals, Stakeholders and the Public starts with Chapter 11, An Interprofessional Approach to Shared Decision Making: What it Means and Where Next.  The authors France Légaré and Dawn Stacey delve into the intricacies of an interprofessional healthcare team approach and what it means for patients who wish to be engaged in the decision making process.

An interprofessional approach is a process by which two or more professionals collaborate to provide integrated and cohesive care to address the needs of their patient population.  It has the potential to link multiple professionals (physicians, nurses, social workers, physical therapists, etc.) with patients and families and help eliminate communication and information gaps in the healthcare system.  Oncofertility is a field whose success relies heavily on interprofessional decision making.  Oncologists, reproductive endocrinologists, nurses, and psychologists work together to provide quality care in a timely manner.  While many advances have been made,  clinical decision-making processes still need to be improved to involve patients and their wishes within the framework.  Additionally, more work needs to be done to identify and implement conceptual models underlying interprofessional approaches to shared decision making and those already in place need to be validated in clinical settings.

The Oncofertility Consortium is a prime example of how interprofessional approaches can successfully drive patient care.  Our Fertility Preservation Patient Navigator helps to bridge the gap between clinicians and patients in a way that allows patients to feel empowered and involved in the decision making process!