Improving patient safety through informatics tools for shared decision making and risk communication

Int J Med Inform. 2004 Aug;73(7-8):551-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2004.05.003.


This paper describes how informatics tools can support shared decision making and risk communication and thereby play an important role in enhancing patient safety. Using preference elicitation techniques and knowledge on risk communication, such tools can help patients understand their treatment options and associated short- and long-term benefits and risks, assist in the elicitation of patient preferences, and help patients and clinicians in making treatment choices with the highest likelihood of achieving desired patient outcomes. Important features of such tools are proposed, including: (1) Interactive tutorials to improve risk comprehension and prepare patients and clinicians for the decision making task; (2) choices between different presentation modes to meet patients' individual reading levels and presentation preferences; (3) risk calculations that account for individual risk profiles; (4) performance of necessary calculations to reach the actual decision; (5) automatic updates of evidence; and (6) the use of different preference-elicitation techniques.

MeSH terms

  • Decision Making, Computer-Assisted*
  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical
  • Decision Support Techniques
  • Humans
  • Patient Participation*
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Risk Assessment*
  • Safety