Patient centred diagnosis: sharing diagnostic decisions with patients in clinical practice


Shared decision making for diagnostic decisions is understudied and differs from treatment decision making. Zackary D Berger and colleagues discuss how uncertainty and stakes should shape the conversation

  • Patient centred diagnosis is best practised through shared decision making; an iterative dialogue between doctor and patient, which respects a patient’s needs, values, preferences, and circumstances

  • Shared decision making for diagnostic situations differs fundamentally from that for treatment decisions. This has important implications when considering its practical application

  • The nature of dialogue should be tailored to the specific diagnostic decision; scenarios with higher stakes or uncertainty usually require more detailed conversations

In 2001, the National Academy of Medicine set out its vision to prioritise patient centred care: to ensure that clinical…