In Switzerland there is a strong movement at a national policy level towards strengthening patient rights and patient involvement in health care decisions. Yet, there is no national programme promoting shared decision making. First decision support tools (prenatal diagnosis and screening) for the counselling process have been developed and implemented. Although Swiss doctors acknowledge that shared decision making is important, hierarchical structures and asymmetric physician-patient relationships are still prevailing. The last years have seen some promising activities regarding the training of medical students and the development of patient support programmes. Swiss direct democracy and the habit of consensual decision making and citizen involvement in general may provide a fertile ground for SDM development in the primary care setting.
2011. Published by Elsevier GmbH.