Patient Decision Aids

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Patient Decision Aids

Patient decision aids are informational tools containing clinical care content intended for patients seeking clinical care options and outcomes relevant to a health condition.[1] Patient decision aids enhance a patient’s knowledge and understanding about treatment options, and the patient’s overall ability to make effective and informed clinical decisions.[2] Additionally, the use patient decision aids are correlated with increased patient engagement in health maintenance, and a patient’s ability to communicate effectively with clinicians.[3][4] Although patient decision aids encourage patient engagement in health maintenance, patient decision aids are not to be interpreted as prescriptive or replacements to practitioner advise and counseling.[5]

Efforts to Standardize

Patient decision aids vary in communication styles with enormous complexity per institution. Nonetheless, many healthcare organizations already strive to promote creative mechanisms that produce quality patient decision aids. Collaborative efforts have alrealy given rise to groups such as the International Patient Decision Aid Standards or IPDAS. In 2003 IPDAS was formed through an international collaboration of healthcare practitioners and clinicians. The IPDAS collaboration currently promotes a formal methodology with the purpose “to enhance the quality and effectiveness of patient decision aids by establishing a shared evidence-informed framework with a set criteria for improving their content, development, implementation, and evaluation."[6]

Patient Decision Aids in current use

The current state of the healthcare industry in the U.S. post HITECH act, benefits from technological contributions in the area of quality health information technology.[7] Organizations such as the Mayo Clinic, are already exploring patient decision aids within the Mayo Clinic Shared Decision Making National Resource Center.[8][9] The increased adoption of patient decision aid tools among major health care institutions is evidence of the growing interest to strengthen shared quality between patients and providers before, during, and after clinical encounters.


  1. International Patient Decision Aid Standard (IPDAS) Collaboration. What are Patient Decision Aids?
  2. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Effective Health Care Program. Tools and Resources, Patient Decision Aids.
  3. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Innovations. Quality Tools, Patient Decision Aids.
  4. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Innovations. Shared Decisionmaking Tools Plus Peer Support Lead to More Efficient and Effective Mental Health Consultations and High Satisfaction.
  5. Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. Patient Decision Aids.
  6. International Patient Decision Aid Standards (IPDAS) Collaboration, Home. What is the purpose?
  7., Health IT Legislation, HITECH Act.
  8. Mayo Clinic Shared Decision Making National Resource Center.
  9. Knowledge and Evaluation Research(KER) Unit.

Submitted by Alejandro Velasco