Minimum standards for the certification of patient decision support interventions: feasibility and application

Patient Educ Couns. 2015 Apr;98(4):462-8. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2014.12.009. Epub 2014 Dec 31.


Objective: Patient decision support interventions are not currently subject to standardized quality control. The current study aims to assess the feasibility of applying a proposed set of minimum standards (previously developed as part of a possible certification process) to a selection of existing patient decision support interventions.

Methods: A convenience sample of interventions selected from those included in the 2009 Cochrane systematic review of patient decision aids was scored by trained raters using the International Patient Decision Aids Standards (IPDAS) instrument. Scores were then evaluated against the published proposed minimum standards.

Results: Twenty-five out of thirty included interventions met all qualifying criteria while only three met the proposed certification criteria. The changes required for an intervention to meet the proposed certification standards were relatively minor. There was considerable variation between raters' mean scores.

Conclusions: Most interventions did not meet the certification criteria due to lack of information on modifiable items such as update policy and funding source.

Practice implications: Specifying minimum standards for patient decision support interventions is a feasible development. However, it remains unclear whether the minimum standards can be applied to interventions designed for use within clinical encounters and to those that target screening and diagnostic tests.

Keywords: Decision aid standards; Decision support techniques; Feasibility; Patient decision-making; Shared decision-making.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Certification / standards*
  • Decision Making*
  • Decision Support Techniques*
  • Humans
  • Patient Participation*
  • Quality Control
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic