Patient Satisfaction News

Industry Groups Partner for Healthcare Shared Decision-Making

The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation and the American Gastroenterological Association will work to drive better shared decision-making and patient-provider communication.

Two industry groups will work together to identify communication gaps and improve shared decision-making.

Source: Thinkstock

By Sara Heath

- The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation and the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) have partnered for a program geared toward driving shared decision-making in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Along with efforts from Pfizer, the program will work to identify care gaps, patient-provider communication barriers, and issues regarding shared decision-making.

The Foundation and AGA will conduct a national survey of patients and healthcare providers to identify discrepancies in patient-provider communication and shared decision-making after planning sessions by the program’s steering committee are complete.

The survey results will inform decisions for project proposals aimed at closing those care gaps in driving shared decision-making in IBD. Stakeholders can expect proposal announcements in the summer of 2017.

Additionally, program organizers are planning an industry event during which experts will convene and discuss important trends and best practices in driving patient-provider communication and shared decision-making.

The strength of this program comes from its national partners, said Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation President and CEO Michael Osso.

"Partnering with the AGA and Pfizer on such an important project is a natural extension of strong relationships we already have with both organizations," Osso said in a statement. "Working together we will address the critical need to identify tools and mechanisms to support shared decision-making and improve health communication between patients and providers."

Focusing on patient-provider communication is key for the initiative, added AGA President Timothy Wang, MD, AGAF.

"The physician patient conversation is integral to ensuring IBD patients are receiving the best care to manage their disease,” Wang explained. “We are pleased that our work with the Foundation and Pfizer will help identify new ways to facilitate these conversations, which will help healthcare professionals provide high-value care."

Shared decision-making has recently come to the forefront as a key patient engagement strategy, with many healthcare experts saying the technique is critical to ensuring a truly patient-centric experience.

For Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center researcher Corey Siegel, MD, making sure patient preferences are incorporated into the shared decision-making process is vital to his ulcerative colitis practice.

Treatment decisions for ulcerative colitis can be extremely difficult, presenting limited options that usually have less-than-optimal procedure side effects.

“In recognizing that treatment is such a hard decision, we really wanted to develop some tool and some support for shared decision-making process with patients,” Siegel said in a past interview with

“We really need to understand what patients are most fearful of and most concerned about and what they want to talk about because otherwise it becomes a very provider-centric program as opposed to a patient-centric program,” Siegel explained.

To better understand these patient preferences and meaningfully engage his patients in shared decision-making, Siegel went right to the source. Using extensive surveying techniques, Siegel determined what quality-of-life factors were important to patients and began treatment discussions from there. By assessing patient preferences, Siegel could incorporate patients as partners in their individual care decisions.

“I think the importance of our work in the context of patient-centric care is that we didn’t just build a communications tool to teach our patients about their disease and treatments based on what doctors thought was important to tell them,” Siegel noted.

“The idea is really to understand what their preferences are and have them make a decision that matches that preference, and that physicians and providers help guide them, too,” Siegel concluded.

Driving patient-provider communication will be critical for all healthcare professionals working to drive stronger shared decision-making. Providers can determine their best path forward and ultimately incorporate the patient as a partner in treatment by assessing the current status of provider communications and joint medical decisions.


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