Co-designing a theory-informed intervention to increase shared decision-making in maternity care

Alex Waddell, Gerri Spassova, Louise Sampson, Lena Jungbluth, Jennifer Louise Dam, Peter Bragge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Shared decision-making (SDM) has been shown to improve healthcare outcomes and is a recognized right of patients. Policy requires health services to implement SDM. However, there is limited research into what interventions work and for what reasons. The aim of the study was to develop a series of interventions to increase the use of SDM in maternity care with stakeholders. Methods: Interventions to increase the use of SDM in the setting of pregnancy care were developed using Behaviour Change Wheel and Theoretical Domains Framework and building on findings of an in-depth qualitative study which were inductively analysed. Intervention development workshops involved co-design, with patients, clinicians, health service administrators and decision-makers, and government policy makers. Workshops focused on identifying viable SDM opportunities and tailoring interventions to the local context (the Royal Women’s Hospital) and salient qualitative themes. Results: Pain management options during labour were identified by participants as a high priority for application of SDM, and three interventions were developed including patient and clinician access to the Victorian Government’s maternity record via the patient portal and electronic medical records (EMR); a multi-layered persuasive communications campaign designed; and clinical champions and SDM simulation training. Factors identified by participants for successful implementation included having alignment with strategic direction of the service, support of leaders, using pre-standing resources and workflows, using clinical champions, and ensuring equity. Conclusion: Three interventions co-designed to increase the use of SDM for pain management during labour address key barriers and facilitators to SDM in maternity care. This study exemplifies how health services can use behavioural science and co-design principles to increase the use of SDM. Insights into the co-design of interventions to implement SDM in routine practice provide a framework for other health services, policy makers and researchers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15
Number of pages13
JournalHealth Research Policy and Systems
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2023


  • Co-design
  • Health policy research
  • Health service research
  • Hospital accreditation
  • Maternity care
  • Shared decision-making

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