brand logo

Fam Pract Manag. 2023;30(1):29


Physicians and patients sharing in health care decisions is an integral part of primary care, but doing so in a comprehensive, repeatable way can be difficult. Every decision is different, every patient has different values and preferences, and it's not always easy to determine if a patient clearly grasps the risks and benefits of a given decision.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has developed a five-step process, the SHARE approach, for facilitating shared decision making between clinicians and patients. The steps are as follows:

  • Seek your patient's participation: “Now that we have identified the problem, it's time for us to think about what to do next. I would like your input.”

  • Help your patient explore and compare treatment options: “Here are some choices we can consider. Let me tell you what the research says about the benefits and risks.”

  • Assess your patient's values and preferences: “As you think about your options, what's important to you? What risks worry you most?”

  • Reach a decision with your patient: “Would you like some more time to think about the treatment choices, or are you ready to decide?”

  • Evaluate your patient's decision: “If you don't feel things are improving, please schedule a follow-up visit so we can plan a different approach.”

Already a member or subscriber?  Log In


From $95
  • Immediate, unlimited access to all FPM content
  • More than 36 CME credits/year
  • AAFP app access
  • Print delivery available

Issue Access

  • Immediate, unlimited access to this issue's content
  • CME credits
  • AAFP app access
  • Print delivery available
Interested in AAFP membership?  Learn More


Practice Pearls presents readers' advice on practice operations and patient care, along with tips drawn from the literature. Submit a pearl (250 words or less) to FPM at

Continue Reading

More in FPM

Copyright © 2023 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference. This material may not otherwise be downloaded, copied, printed, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any medium, whether now known or later invented, except as authorized in writing by the AAFP.  See permissions for copyright questions and/or permission requests.