Shared Decision Making

There is consensus in the current medical literature that when patients are choosing among more than one reasonable option, such as when choosing a contraceptive method, providers should assist their patients in making these decisions by helping them to identify their preferences in the context of their values and by providing them with relevant information in a way that the patient can understand and integrate.

A shared decision-making approach is associated with high levels of patient satisfaction in a wide variety of clinical settings including contraceptive counseling. It has been shown to increase a patient’s engagement in self-care as well as improve patient outcomes and health status. Shared decision making applied to contraception counseling is associated with increased satisfaction with method choice.

As stated in an article published about PATH entitled Beyond intent: exploring the association of contraceptive choice with questions about Pregnancy Attitudes, Timing, and How Important is pregnancy prevention:

“The goal of client-centered contraceptive counseling is a shared decision-making process.  The process is designed to identify contraceptive methods that are in line with patient preferences, goals and values as well as meeting emotional and physical health needs and addressing financial limitations. Clinicians provide information regarding method efficacy, side effects, duration of typical use, etc. While this information can inform a client’s decision to initiate a specific method, that decision is entirely theirs to make” (Geist, et al., 2019.)

Marble Surface
Above the Clouds

PATH offers the opportunity for providers and their patients to collaborate on clarifying the patient’s reproductive goals, and to come up with next steps for that patient, taking into account a variety of life circumstances. Each patient is different, so there is not a one-size fits all solution to counseling. The PATH framework is designed to honor these differences and incorporates a variety of techniques to tailor the counseling conversation to each patient.