Decision Aid


Decision aid

– Help people make choices among options, including the status quo, by providing information on -relevant options and outcomes

-Facilitate shared decision-making

-Compensate, to some extent, for deficiencies in doctor information

-Provide a written/internet resource that can be reviewed at leisure at home

-Clearly present the treatment options

-Give evidence-based information about the likelihood of benefit and side effects

-presented in a clear graphical form

-Help the patient clarify which outcomes are important to them

And which way they are leaning

  • describe the health condition
  • list the options [including doing nothing]
  • describe the natural course without options
  • describe positive features [benefits] of options
  • describe negative features of options [harms/side effects/disadvantages]
  • include chances of positive/negative outcomes
  • describe procedures
  • use event rates specifying the population and time period
  • compare outcome probabilities using the same denominator, time period, scale is tailored to patient [e.g. age]
  • use visual diagrams
  • use multiple methods [words, numbers, diagrams]
  • use both positive and negative frames
  • describe uncertainty around probabilities
  • place probabilities in context of other events
  • describe the procedures and outcomes to help patients imagine what it is like to experience their physical, emotional, social effects
  • ask patients to consider which positive and negative features matter most
  • suggest ways for patients to share what matters most with others

Provide steps to make a decision

include tools [worksheet, question list] to discuss options with others

-Include a range of risk communication strategies (such as words, numbers, pictographs). You will need to        roughly format  the decision aid to be as                clear and logical as possible, (however graphical design is not needed!), and include a values clarification exercise.


-use plain language that can be understand by majority of patients



Shown in systematic reviews to:

-Increase knowledge

-Decrease difficulty of decision-making

-Reduce decisional regret

-Increase satisfaction

-Without increasing anxiety