For more than 25 years, the Foundation has been a thought leader in research around outcomes that matter to patients, in advocacy for health system change, and in shared decision making (SDM). Today, we are pleased to introduce the new and improved Foundation website.
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Last week we looked at evaluating the effects of decision aid (DA) exposure on the decision-making process. Our final evaluative question asks whether the DAs are actually helping patients make better health decisions. How would we know a “better” decision if we saw one? Donald Berwick, former director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, proposed what he called the “Triple Aim”: better health care and better health at lower cost. One way to answer the question of whether the decisions are “better”—and thereby demonstrate the “value” of using DAs and other patient support materials—is to collect data to evaluate how each of these aims is affected. Triple aims, of course, entail three different kinds of evaluations.
Read more about how to demonstrate the value of 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 Cochrane Collaboration is an international group of researchers who review evidence across numerous clinical trials on the same topic to determine what generalizations they support. In 2014, the Cochrane Collaboration included 115 randomized trials in its latest review of the effects of DAs. The conclusions were that DAs consistently improved patient knowledge and increased patient sense of readiness to make a decision. Yet, despite all these studies, there is still much that we do not know and that remains undocumented about these important patient support tools.
Read more about what we still need to learn about decision aids