Potential Unintended Consequences Of Recent Shared Decision Making Policy Initiatives

Jennifer Blumenthal-Barby, Douglas J. Opel, Neal W. Dickert, Daniel B. Kramer, Brownsyne Tucker Edmonds, Keren Ladin, Monica E. Peek, Jeff Peppercorn, Jon Tilburt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Shared decision making (SDM)-when clinicians and patients make medical decisions together-is moving swiftly from an ethical ideal toward widespread clinical implementation affecting millions of patients through recent policy initiatives. We argue that policy initiatives to promote SDM implementation in clinical practice carry the risk of several unintended negative consequences if limitations in defining and measuring SDM are not addressed. We urge policy makers to include prespecified definitions of desired outcomes, offer guidance on the tools used to measure SDM in the multitude of contexts in which it occurs, evaluate the impact of SDM policy initiatives over time, review that impact at regular intervals, and revise SDM measurement tools as needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1876-1881
Number of pages6
JournalHealth affairs (Project Hope)
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019


  • Cancer patients
  • Health policy
  • Medical research
  • Quality of care
  • Shared decision making
  • ethics
  • patient engagement
  • public health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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    Blumenthal-Barby, J., Opel, D. J., Dickert, N. W., Kramer, D. B., Tucker Edmonds, B., Ladin, K., Peek, M. E., Peppercorn, J., & Tilburt, J. (2019). Potential Unintended Consequences Of Recent Shared Decision Making Policy Initiatives. Health affairs (Project Hope), 38(11), 1876-1881. https://doi.org/10.1377/hlthaff.2019.00243