NICE shared decision making guidance: an opportunity for knowledge and library specialists

Published on 17 September 2021, by Ruth Carlyle

Health literacy

How NICE's new shared decision making guidance provides an opportunity for KLS

The new NICE shared decision making guidance provides an opportunity to promote both the importance of health literacy and the need for evidence-based information for patients and the public.

The HEE national knowledge and library services team responded on behalf of Health Education England to the draft guidance from NICE, requesting the inclusion of:

  • Evidence-based patient information to support decisions
  • Health literacy

The draft guidance indicated the need for patient decision-making aids, but did not explicitly include patient information materials as resources to support decisions.

The final guidance states that a decision aid, including information, ‘should only be used if is quality assured and reflects evidence-based best practice’ (1.3.2). This provides an opportunity for conversations about the role that knowledge and library services can play in providing evidence to underpin patient information. You may wish to use the Making the Case resources developed by participants in our senior leadership development programme.

The guidance states that the core health literacy techniques of ‘Teach Back’ and ‘Chunk and Check’ should be used in discussions when options are being considered (1.2.11). The ‘Teach Back’ and ‘Chunk and Check’ techniques are included in our training on health literacy and are also covered in the health literacy toolkit.

NICE’s shared decision making guidance includes a link to Health Education England’s health literacy e-learning. We are particularly keen to encourage usage of the health literacy e-learning in parts of the country where there are lower levels of health literacy.

We are working on resources to be used alongside the new NICE guidance. In the meantime, do use the guidance as an opportunity to promote the importance of evidence-based information for patients and health literacy.  Find updated resources for health literacy and patient information.


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