Research review finds shared decision making benefits people with lower health literacy more

Any analysis of research studies has found that overall, SDM interventions seemed to benefit disadvantaged groups (e.g. lower literacy) more than those with higher literacy, education and socioeconomic status. Interventions that were tailored to disadvantaged groups’ needs appeared most effective.

The research included 19 studies and pooled 10 in a meta-analysis. The meta-analyses showed a moderate positive effect of shared decision-making interventions on disadvantaged patients. The narrative synthesis suggested that, overall, SDM interventions increased knowledge, informed choice, participation in decision-making, decision self-efficacy, preference for collaborative decision making and reduced decisional conflict among disadvantaged patients. Further, 7 out of 19 studies compared the intervention’s effect between high and low literacy groups.

Results indicate that shared decision-making interventions significantly improve outcomes for disadvantaged patients. According to the narrative synthesis, SDM interventions may be more beneficial to disadvantaged groups than higher literacy/socioeconomic status patients. However, given the small sample sizes and variety in the intervention types, study design and quality, those findings should be interpreted with caution.

Read more about the research.

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