Shared Decision Making

The right decision, for the right patient, at the right time.

What do we mean when we talk about shared decision making?

The involvement of patients in decisions about their care is essential to help effectively manage long-term conditions and achieve the best possible patient outcome. ‘Shared decision making’ (SDM) ensures that individuals are supported, by their healthcare partners, to make decisions about their care or treatment that are right for them. SDM is included in the NHS Constitution, and AbbVie hopes to help continue raising the profile of patient involvement.

AbbVie has now produced a policy report found here, that draws on the findings of our consultation and calls for change to help involve patients across the NHS in treatment and care decisions.  Central to this, we see three pillars of opportunity:

  • Enabling empowered conversations through support for both healthcare professionals and patients;
  • Achieving buy-in through increased levels of support, visibility and understanding of SDM amongst senior leadership at Board level.
  • Utilising the opportunity to re-engineer pathways and processes during NHS Restart to embed SDM into treatment pathways.

To achieve this, AbbVie will continue to bring together key decision makers, patient groups and other stakeholders to support the spread and adoption of best practice in SDM.

Showcasing Shared Decision Making

In Spring 2020, AbbVie brought together 16 projects to showcase best practice.

Our ambition

AbbVie wants to see shared decision making widely adopted across NHS services.

To support this ambition, throughout 2020 AbbVie worked to highlight the importance of shared decision making. In Spring, we held the Shared Decision Making Showcase in Parliament. A year on from the publication of NHS England’s NHS Long Term Plan, and Universalised Personalised Care Plan – which established ambitious targets to put SDM at the heart of patient care – the showcase provided a platform for patient groups, NHS Trusts, and healthcare providers to share their innovative work. 

The projects at the Showcase ranged from MS, arthritis, Lymphoma, Autism, Hepatitis C, kidney dialysis and more — all focused on empowering patients to take an active part in decisions about their treatment and care. 

As the year and the COVID-19 pandemic progressed, we wanted to delve into how the virus has impacted patients, healthcare professionals and the entire NHS system. In Autumn 2020, we held two virtual discussions with patient advocacy groups, national and professional bodies and key stakeholders to understand how the pandemic has impacted SDM, as well as the longer term changes needed to improve patient involvement in their treatment and care decisions as a whole.

These discussions brought to light both the existing challenges and new opportunities to redesign and reshape our NHS to embed SDM as best practice.

If you would like more information about this work or the projects showcased at the event, please email