Milestones, barriers and beacons: Shared decision making in Canada inches ahead

France Légaré, Dawn Stacey, Pierre Gerlier Forest, Marie France Coutu, Patrick Archambault, Laura Boland, Holly O. Witteman, Annie LeBlanc, Krystina B. Lewis, Anik M.C. Giguere

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Canada's approach to shared decision making (SDM) remains as disparate as its healthcare system; a conglomerate of 14 public plans – ten provincial, three territorial and one federal. The healthcare research funding environment has been largely positive for SDM because there was funding for knowledge translation research which also encompassed SDM. The funding climate currently places new emphasis on patient involvement in research and on patient empowerment in healthcare. SDM fields have expanded from primary care to elder care, paediatrics, emergency and critical care medicine, cardiology, nutrition, occupational therapy and workplace rehabilitation. Also, SDM has reached out to embrace other health-related decisions including about home care and social care and has been adapted to Aboriginal decision making needs. Canadian researchers have developed new interprofessional SDM models that are being used worldwide. Professional interest in SDM in Canada is not yet widespread, but there are provincial initiatives in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan. Decision aids are routinely used in some areas, for example for prostate cancer in Saskatchewan, and many others are available for online consultation. The Patient Decision Aids Research Group in Ottawa, Ontario maintains an international inventory of decision aids appraised with the International Patient Decision Aid Standards. The Canada Research Chair in SDM and Knowledge Translation in Quebec City maintains a website of SDM training programs available worldwide. These initiatives are positive, but the future of SDM in Canada depends on whether health policies, health professionals and the public culture fully embrace it.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-27
Number of pages5
JournalZeitschrift fur Evidenz, Fortbildung und Qualitat im Gesundheitswesen
StatePublished - Jun 2017


  • Canada
  • health and social care
  • implementation science
  • interprofessional
  • knowledge translation
  • political science
  • shared decision making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Education
  • Health Policy


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