Editor’s note: The February issue of Health Affairs was a thematic issue focused on patient engagement. In conjunction with the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), the journal launched a new initiative inviting questions from patients and others via Facebook for Health Affairs authors on patient-centeredness and patient engagement. Questions are then answered on Health Affairs Blog.

Below, Benjamin Moulton, the senior legal adviser at the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making, answers a question from a reader. In the February issue (writing with Jamie King) and at the issue release event, Moulton described the results of the Group Health Demonstration Project; under a Washington State legislative mandate, Group Health studied the costs and benefits of integrating shared decision making and decision aids into clinical practice across a range of conditions for which multiple treatment options are available. Previously, Ming Tai-Seale, Jessie Gruman and Rachael Fleurence answered questions from readers.

Joan DeClaire: Thanks for a great description of how shared decision making is working within Group Health Cooperative, an integrated health system. Do you think it will take off in other kinds of health care settings? And if so, what will be the catalyst?

Bejamin Moulton: Certainly an integrated system helped, but I believe that other systems can make shared decision making work as well. One key to success for Group Health was the culture of leadership which recognized that shared decision making was at the heart of patient centered care. Group Health is committed to making sure that patients make treatment choices dictated by patient preferences and values.

This commitment to patient centered care and the positive feedback from the patient satisfaction surveys spur the adoption of shared decision making. This can be accomplished in a variety of settings.