Lessons in Integrating Shared Decision-Making Into Cancer Care. Academic Article uri icon


  • The benefits of shared decision-making (SDM) in health care delivery are well documented, but implementing SDM at the institutional level is challenging, particularly when patients have complex illnesses and care needs, as in cancer. Denmark's Lillebaelt Hospital, in creating The Patient's Cancer Hospital in Vejle, has learned key lessons in implementing SDM so that the organization's culture is actually being transformed. In short, SDM is becoming part of the fabric of care, not a mere add-on to it. Specifically, the hospital chose and structured its leadership to ensure that SDM is constantly championed. It organized multiple demonstration projects focused on use of decision aids, patient-reported outcome measures, and better communication tools and practices. It designed programs to train clinicians in the art of doctor-patient communication. It used research evidence to inform development of the decision aids that its clinicians use with their patients. And it rigorously measured SDM performance in an ongoing fashion so that progress could be tracked and refined to ensure continuous improvement. Initial data on the institution's SDM initiatives from the Danish national annual survey of patients' experiences show substantial progress, thereby motivating Lillebaelt to reassert its commitment to the effort, to share what it has learned, and to invite dialogue among all cancer care organizations as they seek to fully integrate SDM in daily clinical practice.

altmetric score

  • 22.2

author list (cited authors)

  • Steffensen, K. D., Vinter, M., Crüger, D., Dankl, K., Coulter, A., Stuart, B., & Berry, L. L.

citation count

  • 25

publication date

  • April 2018