A review of the 86 trials included in the 2011 Cochrane Review of decision aids found great variability in the reporting of decision aid effectiveness. In some studies, the measures used to evaluate decision quality and other outcomes were not named. In other studies, the decision aid tool itself was not well described, making it hard to know what components were part of the DA. These gaps in reporting DA evaluations led to the creation of the International Patient Decision Aid Standards Reporting Guidelines (IPDAS-RG) Workgroup, of which I am a member. The goal of this workgroup is to develop a generally agreed-upon list of core items for reporting decision aid evaluation studies to help facilitate comparisons across studies, as well as improve the way individual studies are reported. The workgroup is led by Karen Sepucha (Massachusetts General Hospital), Healthwise medical editor; and Richard Thomson (Newcastle University, UK).
The workgroup first met in 2015 to develop an initial checklist of items that should be included in a research report on decision aid effectiveness. This checklist included more than 50 items. Earlier this year, the workgroup conducted the first round of a Delphi process‐a quantitative technique used to generate consensus—to gain agreement from a diverse international audience of researchers, clinicians, and policy makers on the importance and clarity of items proposed by the group. More than 100 stakeholders from more than 10 different countries responded.
At the end of March, the IPDAS-RG Workgroup reconvened to discuss the results of the first round of the Delphi process, narrow down the list of core items, and ensure that each item was clearly stated. Participants will be able to provide feedback on the revised checklist in the second round, which begins in May. The workgroup will convene once more to develop a guidelines statement and publish version 1.0 of a checklist for universal reporting guidelines of decision aid evaluation studies.
“Beyond the more immediate goal of improved transparency, quality, and completeness of reporting,” Karen and Richard believe this project “is likely to improve dissemination and uptake of the results among non-research stakeholders such as clinicians, patients/consumers, advocates, and families.” And that, they say, could support widespread implementation of decision aids across different care settings.