How effective are decision aids for people facing treatment or screening decisions?
This systematic review was limited by inadequate power to detect important differences in effectiveness in subgroups and in the wide variability in the decision contexts, the elements within the patient decision aid, the type of comparison interventions, the targeted outcomes and the evaluation procedures. Several of the outcomes demonstrated statistically significant heterogeneity.
Decision aids can be used when there is more than one reasonable option, when no option has a clear advantage in terms of health outcomes and when each option has benefits and harms that patients may value differently. Decision aids may be pamphlets, videos or web-based tools. They make the decision explicit, describe the options available and help people to understand these options, as well as their possible benefits and harms.