Just a few days ago, the Cochrane Collaboration released the newest edition of Decision aids for people facing health treatment or screening decisions. This is the third edition of the systematic review of patient decision aid research, in which the team of authors examined evidence from the library of patient decision aid trials to assess the effects of decision aids on treatment and screening decisions. The team was led by Dawn Stacey from the University of Ottawa. Our president, Michael Barry, is one of the 12 authors that contributed to this study.
The last review was released in 2011, and this review picked up where the last one left off, looking at studies from 2009 to June 2012. This edition added 33 studies have to the review, bringing the total number of randomized trials to 115. Out of those 115 trials, 11 of them use our decision aids that we have produced with Health Dialog. As found in previous editions, this review finds that when patients use decision aids they:
a) improve their knowledge about the options b) feel more informed and more clear about what matters to them c) have more accurate expectations of possible risks d) participate more in decision making. (Stacey D. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2014)
It goes further to say that decision aids reduce the percentage of patients choosing prostate-specific antigen testing and other major elective surgeries. In addition, it finds decision aids improve communication between patients and providers.
These findings continue to show the positive role decision aids can make in a patient’s experience and in health care in general. It further solidifies that our work developing high quality, evidence-based decision aids is important and makes a difference.