Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Am Med Inform Assoc. 1999 Sep-Oct;6(5):412-9.

Use of meta-analytic results to facilitate shared decision making.

Author information

  • 1Health Services Research and Development, San Diego Veterans Administration Medical Center and the University of California-San Diego, 92161, USA. llenert@ucsd.edu



Describe and evaluate an Internet-based approach to patient decision support using mathematical models that predict the probability of successful treatment on the basis of meta-analytic summaries of the mean and standard deviation of symptom response.


An Internet-based decision support tool was developed to help patients with benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) determine whether they wanted to use alpha blockers. The Internet site incorporates a meta-analytic model of the results of randomized trials of the alpha blocker terazosin. The site describes alternative treatments for BPH and potential adverse effects of alpha blockers. The site then measures patients' current symptoms and desired level of symptom reduction. In response, the site computes and displays the probability of a patient's achieving his objective by means of terazosin or placebo treatment.


Self-identified BPH patients accessing the site over the Internet.


Patients' perceptions of the usefulness of information.


Over a three-month period, 191 patients who were over 50 years of age and who reported that they have BPH used the decision support tool. Respondents had a mean American Urological Association (AUA) score of 18.8 and a desired drop in symptoms of 10.1 AUA points. Patients had a 40 percent chance of achieving treatment goals with terazosin and a 20 percent chance with placebo. Patients found the information useful (93 percent), and most (71 percent) believed this type of information should be discussed before prescribing medications.


Interactive meta-analytic summary models of the effects of pharmacologic treatments can help patients determine whether a treatment offers sufficient benefits to offset its risks.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk