• 26Jun

    How are decision aids disseminated and do they help people make better decisions?

    The Informed Medical Decisions Foundation has published a interesting series of blogs on decision aids.

    Decision aids (DAs) are designed to help people facing medical decisions by providing up-to-date information about the reasonable options for their care, what is known about the pros and cons of those options, and perspectives on the reasons one might choose one or another of the alternatives.

    The blogs focus on the fact that there is still much that has not been studied or documented about these important patient support tools. The blogs will explore three evaluation questions which the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation have identified need more data in order to better understand how DAs work when they are integrated into real-world clinical practice.

    How well are they disseminated?

    Any evaluation of the effects of DA adoption must start with this question. It’s crucial to understand how consistently the DAs are distributed to patients who need them.

    How was decision making affected by exposure?

    DAs are meant to inform patients of their options, and the pros and cons of those options. So it’s important to know whether patients’ knowledge and understanding was improved after use of the DA. These support tools are also meant to complement patients’ conversations with their health care providers, so we need to look at the impact the DA has on the actual decision-making process.

    Are the decisions better?

    How would we know a “better” decision if we saw one? One set of criteria come from the Triple Aim—better health care and better health, at a lower cost—proposed by Donald Berwick, former director for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. One way to approach the evaluation of outcomes that matter is to collect data on how each of these aims is affected by use of a DA.

    You can read the blogs here.