NHS - Shared Decision Making

Facilitating the conversation between a patient and their healthcare professional

Shared decision making (SDM) is the conversation that happens between a patient and their health professional to reach a healthcare choice together. This conversation needs patients and professionals to understand what is important to the other person when choosing a treatment.

Patient Decision Aids help people think about healthcare decisions in the context of their lives, while also providing written information that is accurate and balanced, let you think how the treatment consequences might affect you, and summarise your reasons for choosing, or not choosing, an option.

As part of the national NHS Right Care Shared Decision Making Programme, Totally Communications were tasked  by NHS Midlands and East, in conjunction with sister company Totally Health, to develop and design shared decision making aids for web and mobile applications, allowing patients to have more say in their healthcare.

Project Highlights

– User Experience & Workflow
– Patient Facing Website
– Bespoke CMS
– Medical Graphics & Video
– 36 Mobile Apps (iOS & Android)
– Health Coaching Platform
– Data Security
– N3 now The Health and Social Care Network (HSCN)


To navigate the plethora of options and outcomes for each of the conditions covered, Totally assembled distinguished medical advisory groups in each disease area that included national clinical leaders and representatives from the third sector and patient groups. The advisory groups ensure information being communicated was accurate and the patient decision aid options and workflows were a correct representation.

The design of the system also had a particular focus on usability and accessibility, with both the interactive website and online Patient Decision Aids needing to be accessed and utilised by users of varied ages and backgrounds.


Launched in September 2012, the bespoke system included an interactive website, 36 online patient decision aids and comparison tables, together with mobile and printed versions.

These aids provide patients with the facts, figures and options they need to make informed decisions about their treatment based on their needs, values and preferences. The resources span a range of conditions, from rheumatoid arthritis and bladder cancer, to multiple sclerosis and depression.

The system also services the remote health coaching network where fully qualified nurses can speak to patients and notes can be stored in the secure database. This system can then be linked to GP and secondary care databases, which means it can act as a way to monitor long term conditions.

We were enormously proud to launch a new and vital sophisticated set of Patient Decision Aids in the form of online tools and mobile apps. The technology, designed and created by Totally, facilitated a sensitive conversation between patient and clinician, and included an integrated telephony system and CRM system. Data security was paramount. Totally helped translate the Government and NHS commitment of patient engagement, into reality.

Dr Jo Garland

Clinical Lead, Shared Decision Making Programme