Realistic Medicine is an approach to healthcare that aims to put people, including patients and carers, at the centre of decisions made about their care. 

When you experience care based on Realistic Medicine you will:

  • Be confident that your healthcare professional is seeing you as a whole person not just your condition.
  • Know that your healthcare professionals listen to you and understand what matters to you.
  • Trust and connect with your healthcare professional.
  • Feel positive that the care and support you receive will deliver what matters most to you.
  • Be able to take part in decisions about your health and wellbeing
  • Be able to access information, advice and community support that meets your needs and preferences
  • Have support to understand your options for treatment.

This video explains more about Realistic Medicine and how it supports care based on what matters to you.

Shared decision-making

Shared decision making puts you at the centre of your care. It empowers you to make a choice based on information about your options and what works best for you. It moves us away from the "doctor knows best" approach. It replaces this with a partnership between you and your health or care professional. This partnership requires more conversations about treatment and care choices.

These conversations should help you to understand the risks and benefits of different options.

This video explains more about shared decision-making.

Building a personalised approach to care 

It’s important that health and care professionals take time to understand you and your needs. We will listen to what matters to you and your family. We will learn about what outcomes are important to you. We will also build trust to improve your health and care. 

This video explains more about personalised care.

Managing risk better

Receiving health and care may come with some risk. Talking with your health or care professional helps you learn about the risks. Your attitude to risk will vary based on your values, beliefs, and circumstances. This means that open and honest discussions with your health or care professional about the risks and benefits of options are key. This means you are less likely to regret your treatment.

This video explains more about managing risk better.


Reducing harm and waste

Most treatments and procedures come with a risk of harm. So, it is important you know the risks and benefits.  This means you might decide on another course of action, or choose to do nothing for now.  Engaging in the decision-making process increases your chances of getting the treatment that best suits you. It lowers your risk of harm and saves resources.

This video explains more about reducing harm and waste.

Being innovators and improvers

Healthcare professionals need to improve services and adopt appropriate innovations. Realistic Medicine means that we will work together to do this. We will also listen to you to understand your health and care needs. In this way, we can better understand how technology and new ways of doing things can help.

This video explains more about innovating and improving services

Tackling unwarranted variation

If you get unnecessary treatment, it can cause you harm and waste resources.. Preventing harm and waste from overuse and overtreatment can save resources. We can then use these resources to provide care where it is needed. This will help us to make sure healthcare is fair for everyone, no matter where they live or who they are. Getting good information helps you choose options that are right for you. This can help reduce unwarranted variation.

This video explains more about tackling unwarranted variation

Value-based health and care 

Value-based health and care is about changing the way that health services work.  To be sustainable for the future, services need to focus on the outcomes that matter to people.  It involves delivering care and support at the lowest possible cost when building on people’s strengths and targeting support at what really makes a difference. 

This video explains more about value-based health and care.

More about Realistic Medicine

Realistic Medicine is a key set of principles that are driving health services to deliver care centred on people's individual needs.

In this videoclip,  Professor Gregor Smith, Chief Medical Officer, speaks to Sara Redmond, Chief Officer in the ALLIANCE, about what Realistic Medicine is, and how it empowers individuals.

The second video features a second interview, this time with ALLIANCE Lead for Caring and Outreach, Tommy Whitelaw and Realistic Medicine Clinical Lead for Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Dr Jude Marshall.  The discussion looks at the work going on in Glasgow to implement Realistic Medicine and how patients can get more involved in decisions around their own care.