Centre of Expertise Urban Vitality

Professional Reasoning and Shared Decision Making in Healthcare

The healthcare sector in the Netherlands is becoming more and more complex, which is why effective cooperation between different healthcare providers is essential. Healthcare providers are aware of this fact, but it turns out to be difficult to put into practice. The Professorship in Professional Reasoning and Shared Decision-Making in Healthcare is attempting to identify the obstacles that get in the way of optimum cooperation and decision-making and looking at how these obstacles can be removed.

One of the results of the aging population is that there are more and more elderly people struggling with multiple medical conditions. It is important for this patient group that all the healthcare professionals involved work together closely, and that their treatment plans are well-coordinated. However, the way the various healthcare professions are developing is making this difficult. Healthcare providers are increasingly specialising in smaller areas of expertise. As a result, more and more healthcare providers are involved in the treatment of a single patient.

Complexity increases the risk of mistakes

Complex healthcare cases that require close cooperation between multiple healthcare providers are risky. Inadequate cooperation between healthcare providers and communication failures are among the most frequent causes of avoidable incidents and medical errors. And even when it does not result in serious failings in healthcare, a lack of cooperation will always be detrimental to the quality of treatment and the efficient use of resources.

The professionalism of healthcare practitioners is reflected in both their assessments of situations and problems and the decisions they make on the basis of them. By working with other healthcare providers and always involving the patient in decision-making, healthcare professionals will be able to better coordinate their treatment plans.

The Professorship in Professional Reasoning and Shared Decision-Making in Healthcare aims to monitor and increase the quality of decision-making with regard to diagnostics and treatment. The focus here is on interdisciplinary cooperation and shared decision-making.

Main research questions

1. How can decision-making that involves the patient (i.e. shared decision-making) be supported effectively in practice?

2. How does effective decision-making in interdisciplinary teams (i.e. situational team decision-making) take place and how can this decision-making be supported?

3. How can healthcare professionals be prepared or supported by education and training when it comes to making accurate professional decisions?

The professorship forms part of the AUAS Faculty of Health and the Urban Vitality research programme, and focuses mainly on primary healthcare and the changes that are taking place in this area, affecting risk groups such as:

  • vulnerable elderly people living at home;
  • people who can no longer function well at home following a period of hospitalisation;
  • children affected by obesity and a lack of exercise;
  • people from vulnerable social groups with one or several chronic conditions.
Published by  Faculty of Health 20 July 2023