Objectives Although shared decision making (SDM) is advocated in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treatment, it is largely unclear when, how and to what extent SDM is applied in routine clinical care of patients with RA. This study aimed to investigate the level of SDM in RA treatment from an observer perspective and to assess associations between the level of SDM and characteristics of the clinician, patient and consultation.
Methods The level of SDM was investigated by scoring audio-recordings of 168 routine consultations with unique patients with the observer patient involvement (OPTION) scale (scale 0–100, higher OPTION scores indicating higher levels of SDM). Associations between the level of SDM and characteristics of the clinician, patient and consultation were assessed using multilevel modelling. Statistical significance was set at p<0.05.
Results The mean OPTION score was 28.3 (SD=15.1). The multilevel model included four characteristics: clinician age, patient age, consultation duration and type of treatment decision. There were significant, positive associations between the level of SDM and the consultation duration (b=0.63, 95% CI 0.16 to 1.11), decision for stopping and/or starting medication (b=14.30, 95% CI 5.62 to 22.98), decision for adjusting medication doses (b=8.36, 95% CI 3.92 to 12.81) and decision for administering single dose glucocorticoids (b=15.03, 95% CI 9.12 to 20.93). Thus, a higher level of SDM was significantly associated with a longer consultation duration and the type of treatment decision. No other significant associations were found.
Conclusions Overall, the level of SDM in RA treatment leaves room for improvement. To foster SDM in routine clinical care, training programmes on patient-centred communication skills may be helpful.
- rheumatoid arthritis
- qualitative research
- DMARDs (synthetic)
- DMARDs (biologic)
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