Increasing understanding of shared decision making and your work to implement it helps to build support and momentum.
At the start of your programme it will be important to generate awareness throughout the organisation about shared decision making.
You will need to think about who to involve, how to involve them and what level of understanding they will need.
Raising awareness can take many forms. The important thing to remember is tailor your communication to your audience, use national and international evidence but also anecdotal evidence and examples from the case studies included on this website.
Whilst clinicians involved in consultations with patients will require specific skills training, for others general awareness training will be necessary. As with any new programme of work some responses to change may be cynical, for example a common response is 'just another initiative creating more work'. Other common reactions, experienced by the pilot sites, was that clinicians may believe they are already 'doing' shared decision making in their consultations or that they do not have time to involve patients as much as they would like to in order to elicit patient preferences. Both of these responses need to be handled with care. Having a 'clinical voice', when you can get it, is often useful for weight and credibility. Try drawing upon the experience of others who have shared these concerns but have nevertheless experienced the benefits of taking a shared decision making approach.
Don’t forget the needs of the administrative and non-clinical team. Pilot sites found involvement of reception teams very important in success of initiatives.
Teams working on the Health Foundation’s Magic programme developed a range of awareness materials, from short 5 minute presentations that could be shared at team meetings through to a more extensive 1 hour introductory session.