Shared decision making is widely recognized to facilitate effective health care. The purpose of this study was to assess the applicability and usefulness of a scale to measure the presence and extent of shared decision making in clinical decisions in psychiatric practice.
A coding scheme assessing shared decision making in general medical settings was adapted to mental health settings, and a manual for using the scheme was created. Trained raters used the adapted scale to analyze 170 audio-recordings of medication check-up visits with either psychiatrists or nurse practitioners. The scale assessed the level of shared decision making based on the presence of nine specific elements. Interrater reliability was examined, and the frequency with which elements of shared decision making were observed was documented. The association between visit length and extent of shared decision making was also examined.
Interrater reliability among three raters on a subset of 20 recordings ranged from 67% to 100% agreement for the presence of each of the nine elements of shared decision making and 100% for the agreement between provider and consumer on decisions made. Of the 170 sessions, 128 (75%) included a clinical decision. Just over half of the decisions (53%) met minimum criteria for shared decision making. Shared decision making was not related to visit length after the analysis controlled for the complexity of the decision.
The rating scale appears to reliably assess shared decision making in psychiatric practice and could be helpful for future research, training, and implementation efforts. (Psychiatric Services 63:779–784, 2012; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201100496)