Health Decision Sciences Center

The HDSC is working on several research projects relating to measuring decision quality and implementing shared decision making in practice.

1. Decision Quality Survey Instruments
The team is leading efforts to develop Decision Quality Instruments (DQIs) for a range of common medical conditions, such as treatment of knee and hip osteoarthritis, breast cancer, and prostate cancer screening. The DQIs help answer three questions:

(1) Is the patient informed?
(2) Did the patient get the treatment that best matched their goals?
(3) Was the patient meaningfully involved in the decision?

Feel free to look at a list of available DQI survey instruments, to learn more about the DQI development process, and to read case studies of how these are being used in research and clinical practice. 

2. Shared decision making in Breast Cancer
We have been working with over 100 breast cancer organizations to disseminate breast cancer decision aids and evaluate the implementation of decision aids in different settings. There are five decision aids available that cover the major decisions. Any organization that counsels breast cancer patients is eligible to receive up to 10 free copies of the following programs:

  • DCIS: Choosing Your Treatment
  • Early Stage Breast Cancer: Choosing Your Surgery
  • Breast Reconstruction: Is It Right For You?
  • Hormone Therapy and Chemotherapy: Are They Right For You?
  • Living With Metastatic Breast Cancer: Making the Journey Your Own

Interested sites may request a sample copy of these programs. To learn more about about shared decision making in breast cancer and read case studies of sites that are using the programs, go to our page about the Breast Cancer Initiative.

Please contact if you would like to learn more. This initiative is made possible through a joint effort with Health Dialog, Inc and the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation.

3. Shared Decision Making Center at Mass General

The Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) shared decision making program, led by Drs. Karen Sepucha and Leigh Simmons, provides high-quality health information to promote active and shared decision making in clinical care at the Massachusetts General Hospital.  MGH is one of 9 demonstration sites across the country providing valuable experience on how shared decision making can become a routine part of primary care. Clinicians have access through the electronic medical record to over 35 different decision aids that cover a range of medical conditions, including cancer screening, cardiovascular disease, advance directives planning, women’s health and disease management. The decision aids help inform patients about healthcare options and outcomes while providing them the tools to become more engaged with their healthcare team. 

Our team works with practices and departments to incorporate shared decision making into routine care and can offer assistance with:

At Massachusetts General Hospital, our clinicians and investigators have pioneered research in the field of shared decision making. There is broad support for the integration of decision making and decision quality measurement from MGH physicians, patients, and our hospital leadership.

See a full list of publications by our faculty and staff.