Quality of reporting of patient decision aids in recent randomized controlled trials: A descriptive synthesis and comparative analysis

Patient Educ Couns. 2017 Jul;100(7):1387-1393. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2017.02.021. Epub 2017 Feb 24.


Objective: Variable reporting of patient decision aids (PDAs) in published articles raises uncertainty about whether the intervention meets the definition of a PDA. We appraised the quality of reporting of PDA characteristics in randomized controlled trials (RCTs).

Methods: RCTs eligible for the Cochrane review of PDAs and published June 2012 to April 2015 were included. Quality of PDA reporting was appraised using the International Patient Decision Aid Standards Instrument (v4.0). We descriptively synthesized and comparatively analysed qualifying and certification criteria reported in each publication against their presence in actual PDAs.

Results: Seventeen RCTs evaluating sixteen PDAs were included. Ten PDAs (58.8%) were reported using all qualifying criteria. Two (11.8%) were reported using all certification criteria. The median score for reporting qualifying criteria was 6 of 6 (range 4-6). The median score for reporting certification criteria was 2 of 10 (range 2-3) for screening and 1 of 6 (range 0-6) for treatment decisions.

Conclusion: Reporting of PDAs in RCTs is suboptimal. Incomplete reporting poses challenges for clinicians and researchers needing to identify PDA content for clinical practice and/or future research.

Practice implications: Authors should report IPDASi (v4.0) criteria in published articles. Reporting guidelines for PDA evaluation studies are in development to improve reporting within the scientific literature.

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

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Certification
  • Decision Making*
  • Decision Support Techniques*
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic*