Due to the increasing specialization of medical professionals, patients are treated by multiple disciplines. To ensure that delivered care is patient-centered, it is crucial that professionals and the patient together decide on treatment (shared decision making (SDM)). However, it is not known how SDM should be integrated in multidisciplinary practice. This study determines the most important factors for SDM implementation in sciatica care, as it is known that a prior inventory of factors is crucial to develop a successful implementation strategy.
246 professionals (general practitioners, physical therapists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons) (30% response) and 155 patients (96% response) responded to an internet-based survey. Respondents ranked barriers and facilitators identified in previous interviews, on their importance using Maximum Difference Scaling. Feeding back the personal top 5 most important factors, each respondent indicated whether these factors were barriers or facilitators. Hierarchical Bayes estimation was used to estimate the relative importance (RI) of each factor.
Professionals assigned the highest importance to: quality of professional-patient relationship (RI 4.87; CI 4.75–4.99); importance of quick recovery of patient (RI 4.83; CI 4.69–4.97); and knowledge about treatment options (RI 6.64; CI 4.53–4.74), which were reported as barrier and facilitator. Professionals working in primary care had a different ranking than those working in hospital care. Patients assigned the highest importance to: correct diagnosis by professionals (barrier, RI 8.19; CI 7.99–8.38); information provision about treatment options and potential harm and benefits (RI 7.87; CI 7.65–8.08); and explanation of the professional about the care trajectory (RI 7.16; CI 6.94–7.38), which were reported as barrier and facilitator.
Knowledge, information provision and a good relationship are the most important conditions for SDM perceived by both patients and professionals. These conditions are not restricted to one specific disease or health care system, because they are mostly professional or patient dependent and require healthcare professional training.