There is now yet another new Cochrane review of the evidence on patient decision aids. Here are the conclusions:
- When people use decision aids, they improve their knowledge of the options (high-quality evidence) and feel better informed and more clear about what matters most to them (high-quality evidence).
- They probably have more accurate expectations of benefits and harms of options (moderate-quality evidence) and probably participate more in decision making (moderate-quality evidence).
- People who use decision aids may achieve decisions that are consistent with their informed values (evidence is not as strong; more research could change results).
- People and their clinicians were more likely to talk about the decision when using a decision aid.
- Decision aids have a variable effect on the option chosen, depending on the choice being considered.
- Decision aids do not worsen health outcomes, and people using them are not less satisfied.
- More research is needed to assess if people continue with the option they chose and also to assess what impact decision aids have on healthcare systems.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.