A qualitative study of physicians' perceptions of three decision aids

Patient Educ Couns. 2003 Jul;50(3):279-83. doi: 10.1016/s0738-3991(03)00050-8.


The study objective was to investigate physicians' perceptions of three patient decision aids (DA). Semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with 20 family physicians and 12 gynecologists about a DA for women considering long-term hormone replacement therapy; with 16 respirologists about a DA for the use of intubation and mechanical ventilation for patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; and with 19 physicians (geriatricians, gastroenterologists, internists) about a DA for long-term placement of feeding tubes in the elderly. Participants were identified by a snowball sampling technique. The interviews were analyzed using standard qualitative methods. Most participants (81%) indicated some willingness to use the DAs. The characteristics of the DA viewed positively included it being: balanced, well organized, a useful tool, evidence-based, improves decision making process and multimedia. Some of the negative characteristics were stated as: too complex, the cost, the availability, only appropriate for certain groups of patients, and time consuming. The DAs were acceptable to most participants. Perceived positive and negative factors were similar for all DAs. Uptake of decision aids may be facilitated if physicians have an opportunity to examine and try them, and if they can have unfettered access to them for distribution purposes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Decision Making*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*