'They leave at least believing they had a part in the discussion': understanding decision aid use and patient-clinician decision-making through qualitative research

Patient Educ Couns. 2013 Oct;93(1):86-94. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2013.03.013. Epub 2013 Apr 15.


Objective: This study explores how patient decision aids (DAs) for antihyperglycemic agents and statins, designed for use during clinical consultations, are embedded into practice, examining how patients and clinicians understand and experience DAs in primary care visits.

Methods: We conducted semistructured in-depth interviews with patients (n=22) and primary care clinicians (n=19), and videorecorded consultations (n=44). Two researchers coded all transcripts. Inductive analyses guided by grounded theory led to the identification of themes. Video and interview data were compared and organized by themes.

Results: DAs used during consultations became flexible artifacts, incorporated into existing decision making roles for clinicians (experts, authority figures, persuaders, advisors) and patients (drivers of healthcare, learners, partners). DAs were applied to different decision making steps (deliberation, bargaining, convincing, case assessment), and introduced into an existing knowledge context (participants' literacy regarding shared decision-making (SDM) and DAs).

Conclusion: DAs' flexible use during consultations effectively provided space for discussion, even when SDM was not achieved. DAs can be used within any decision-making model.

Practice implications: Clinician training in DA use and SDM practice may be needed to facilitate DA implementation and promote more ideal-type forms of sharing in decision making.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01029288.

Keywords: Decision aids; Provider–patient communication; Shared decision making.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Communication*
  • Decision Making*
  • Decision Support Techniques*
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Participation*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Rural Health Services / organization & administration
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Urban Health Services / organization & administration
  • Video Recording
  • Young Adult

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01029288