Decision making in health care is very complex. Do you make a decision based on recommendations from your surgeon? Based on what you read online?  Are the decisions based on your values? Below I have given you a starting point to begin your process.

An interesting tool available to you is from the National Business Group on Health… they have compiled a Communications Toolkit to assist you in communicating with your health care providers.  To access the Toolkit click here.

Shared decision making (SDM) actively involves YOU, the patient, in the surgical decision making process. After the facts about your injury or condition have been explained, we will discuss a range of treatment options, and the results that you should consider in light of those options.

Your values, including the impact on your quality of life, will become the focus of this process, instead of having a physician dictate to you which option is best.

Patients know more about their health and their lifestyle and their physical limitations and goals than what physicians have traditionally given them credit for. That’s what Shared Decision Making is all about, and this section of my website will help provide you with some of the tools and information you need to work through the SDM process. I hope it will help you with the information to determine whether surgical or non-surgical options best suit your particular needs.

Second Opinions: Principles of Shared Decision Making


The “Personality of an Injury”


Example #1: A 40-year-old who plays tennis five days a week and has a rotator cuff tear may choose a different option for treatment than a 78-year-old sedentary person with limited demands on the shoulder.

Example #2: An 18-year-old football player who wants to play ball in college may choose to have his Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear reconstructed surgically. But a 30-year-old working mother may choose to just alter her level of activity rather than having surgery.

Each injury has its own “personality.”  The same injury will not affect different individuals — with different needs and lifestyles — in the same way.

Shared Decision Making Tools