The national Shared Decision Making Programme has today launched five online patient decision aids.

Designed and developed by Totally Health, the aids aim to help people think about healthcare decisions using information that has been compiled by the BMJ Group to choose the treatment that best suits their needs.

The five decision aids are the first in a series of 36 that will be rolled out over the coming months.

Dr Steven Laitner, a practicing GP and clinical lead for the programme, said: “All too often there is a paternalistic approach to healthcare, with well-meaning clinicians deciding what is best for their patients. Evidence suggests that patients don’t always know that they have a choice, but when they are involved in decisions about their treatment, their experience, satisfaction and outcomes improve.”

The aids build on those trialled by NHS Direct and the five condition areas cover abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, cataracts, established kidney failure and specific established kidney failure decision aids for dialysis and transplant.

Patients can work through the online support in their own time and a team of specially trained telephone health coaches are available if help and additional support is required.

Shared decision making sheets, which provide patients with a shorter version of the treatment options, are available and mobile apps are in the process of being developed.

“We are enormously proud to be launching these new and vital tools for patients, enabling them to share the decision making process with their clinicians,” Dr Laitner said.

“These patient decision aids help translate the NHS commitment of ‘no decision about me, without me’ and the NHS Mandate into reality.”

The patient decision aids are one of three key workstreams of the shared decision making programme, which is funded by the Department of Health QIPP Programme.

Forthcoming decision aids will include a wide variety of conditions including osteoarthritis of the hip, osteoarthritis of the knee, multiple sclerosis, pregnancy after a caesarian and rheumatoid arthritis.