Shared decision making in the Netherlands: Progress is made, but not for all. Time to become inclusive to patients

Trudy van der Weijden*, Josine van der Kraan, Paul L P Brand, Haske van Veenendaal, Ton Drenthen, Yvonne Schoon, Eline Tuyn, Gerda van der Weele, Peep Stalmeier, Olga C Damman, Anne Stiggelbout

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Web of Science)


Dutch initiatives targeting shared decision-making (SDM) are still growing, supported by the government, the Federation of Patients' Organisations, professional bodies and healthcare insurers. The large majority of patients prefers the SDM model. The Dutch are working hard to realise improvement in the application of SDM in daily clinical practice, resulting in glimpses of success with objectified improvement on observed behavior. Nevertheless, the culture shift is still ongoing. Large-scale uptake of SDM behavior is still a challenge. We haven't yet fully reached the patients' needs, given disappointing research data on patients' experiences and professional behavior. In all Dutch implementation projects, early adopters, believers or higher-educated persons have been overrepresented, while patients with limited health literacy have been underrepresented. This is a huge problem as 25% of the Dutch adult population have limited health literacy. To further enhance SDM there are issues to be addressed: We need to make physicians conscious about their limited application of SDM in daily practice, especially regarding preference and decision talk. We need to reward clinicians for the extra work that comes with SDM. We need to be inclusive to patients with limited health literacy, who are less often actually involved in decision-making and at the same time more likely to regret their chosen treatment compared to patients with higher health literacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-104
Number of pages7
JournalZeitschrift für Evidenz, Fortbildung und Qualität im Gesundheitswesen
Early online date23 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

Cite this