Brief training of student clinicians in shared decision making: A single-blind randomized controlled trial

Date of this Version


Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Citation only

Hoffman, T.C., Bennett, S., Tomsett, S., & Del Mar, C. (2014). Brief training of student clinicians in shared decision making: A single-blind randomized controlled trial. Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Access the journal

© Copyright, Society of General Internal Medicine, 2014





Shared decision making is a crucial component of evidence-based practice, but a lack of training in the “how to” of it is a major barrier to its uptake.


To evaluate the effectiveness of a brief intervention for facilitating shared decision making skills in clinicians and student clinicians.DESIGN Multi-centre randomized controlled trial.

PARTICIPANTS One hundred and seven medical students, physiotherapy or occupational therapy students undertaking a compulsory course in evidence-based practice as part of their undergraduate or postgraduate degree from two Australian universities.


The 1-h small-group intervention consisted of facilitated critique of five-step framework, strategies, and pre-recorded modelled role-play. Both groups were provided with a chapter about shared decision making skills.


The primary outcome was skills in shared decision making and communicating evidence [Observing Patient Involvement (OPTION) scale, items from the Assessing Communication about Evidence and Patient Preferences (ACEPP) Tool], rated by a blinded assessor from videorecorded role-plays. Secondary outcomes: confidence in these skills and attitudes towards patient-centred communication (Patient Practitioner Orientation Scale (PPOS)).


Of participants, 95 % (102) completed the primary outcome measures. Two weeks post-intervention, intervention group participants scored significantly higher on the OPTION scale (adjusted group difference = 18.9, 95 % CI 12.4 to 25.4), ACEPP items (difference = 0.9, 95 % CI 0.5 to 1.3), confidence measure (difference = 13.1, 95 % CI 8.5 to 17.7), and the PPOS sharing subscale (difference = 0.2, 95 % CI 0.1 to 0.5). There was no significant difference for the PPOS caring subscale.


This brief intervention was effective in improving student clinicians’ ability, attitude towards, and confidence in shared decision making facilitation. Following further testing of the longer-term effects of this intervention, incorporation of this brief intervention into evidence-based practice courses and workshops should be considered, so that student clinicians graduate with these important skills, which are typically neglected in clinician training.

This document is currently not available here.



This document has been peer reviewed.