Objective: To describe the exploratory use of short decision support tools for patients, called Option Grids. Option Grids are summary tables, using one side of paper to enable rapid comparisons of options, using questions that patients frequently ask (FAQs) and designed for face-to-face clinical encounters. To date, most evidence about 'patient decision aids' has been based on tools with high content levels, designed for patients to use independently, either before or after visits.
Methods: We studied the use of Option Grids in a quality improvement project, collecting field notes and conducting interviews with clinical teams.
Results: In the 'Making Good Decisions in Collaboration' (MAGIC) program, clinicians found that using Option Grids made it easier to explain the existence of options and reported a 'handover' effect, where patient involvement in decision making was enhanced.
Conclusion: Option Grids made options more visible and clinicians found it easier to undertake shared decision making when these tools were available. Used in a collaborative way, they enhance patients' confidence and voice, increasing their involvement in collaborative dialogs.
Practice implications: Further work to confirm these preliminary findings is required, to measure processes and to assess whether these tools have similar impact in other clinical settings.
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