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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, working in partnership with the wider healthcare community, continues to raise the profile of patient involvement.

AbbVie has 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’ve highlighted 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 NHS leadership
  • Utilising the opportunity to re-design patient pathways and processes during the NHS’s recovery from the pandemic to embed 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 achieve this ambition, AbbVie is committed to bringing together key decision makers, patient groups and other stakeholders to support the spread and adoption of best practice in SDM.  In blood cancer, we’ve been working with the chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) community in the West Midlands to develop a local framework around best practice in SDM.  Similarly, AbbVie is funding a joint project run by the Patients’ Association and the Patient Information Forum who are working with the new Integrated Care System (ICS) in Nottinghamshire to identify where, when and how SDM resources will be deployed to patients on a musculoskeletal (MSK) pathway.

Throughout 2020, AbbVie worked to highlight the importance of SDM by hosting a 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 understand how the virus has impacted patients, healthcare professionals and the entire NHS system and provide insight for our policy report.  We held two virtual discussions with patient advocacy groups, national and professional bodies and key stakeholders to explore how the pandemic has impacted SDM, as well as the longer-term changes needed to improve patient involvement in decisions about treatment and care as a whole.  We also brought together representatives from a variety of disadvantaged communities to look at how SDM can reduce health inequalities as the healthcare system begins to recover (access the findings here).

These discussions brought to light both the existing challenges and new opportunities through the implementation of the new Integrated Care Systems ICSs) to redesign and reshape our NHS to embed SDM.  

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

   January 2022