Dialogue and Shared Decisions: Advancing Person-Centred Health Care

Patient engagement in decision-making is linked to better health outcomes. Interprofessional teamwork is essential to the provision of high-quality maternity care. Key competencies lead to effective communication, role clarity, and situational awareness among all involved, within the context of an environment that supports collaborative leadership and focuses on patient identified priorities for care. To date, few health professional curricula teach these skills.1, 2

The Dialogue and Shared Decisions course was designed to address both the value and the complexity of human interaction around decisions in health care. Our team of students and faculty across a variety of maternity health professions (including nursing, midwifery, medicine and genetic counselling) has created a flexible online course of 5 interactive modules. Course participants work in small interprofessional teams to develop skills that support constructive dialogue and shared decision making with both patients and colleagues.

Each module targets a key interprofessional competency:

  • person-centred care
  • shared decision making
  • role clarification and team functioning
  • interprofessional communication
  • conflict resolution

Course Design

The course has a modular online format utilizing edX and CLAS allowing students to take individual modules or the whole course which allows for self-paced learning, and menu-based selection. The team used several teaching modalities to enhance flexibility and adaptation to the context of each profession’s curriculum and competencies. The course incorporates tools and materials to support self-assessment, peer feedback and skill acquisition including group discussion boards for students to engage and share learnings.

The course has been piloted multiple times with students from a variety of health professional courses at the University of British Columbia and is currently being adapted to the US context. We are keen to support the adaptation and use of the course at other universities or as a continuing professional development course; if you are interested in learning more about the course please contact us via the link below:

Contact us 


  1. Doyle,C. Lennox,L. & Bell, D. (2013). A systematic review of evidence on the links between patient experience and clinical safety and effectiveness. BMJ Open.
  2. Guise JM, Segel S. Teamwork in obstetric critical care. Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics & Gynaecology. 2008 Oct 31; 22(5):937-51.


We gratefully acknowledge the financial support for this project from the Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund at the University of British Columbia and the time and energy our student partners have committed to this work.