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JMIR Cancer. 2018 Nov 21;4(2):e11102. doi: 10.2196/11102.

Assessing Preference Shift and Effects on Patient Knowledge and Decisional Conflict: Cross-Sectional Study of an Interactive Prostate-Specific Antigen Test Patient Decision Aid.

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The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, Dartmouth College, Lebanon, NH, United States.
Radboud Institute for Health Sciences, Scientific Institute for Quality of Healthcare, Radboud university medical center, Nijmegen, Netherlands.



Randomized trials of Web-based decision aids for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing indicate that these interventions improve knowledge and reduce decisional conflict. However, we do not know about these tools' impact on people who spontaneously use a PSA testing patient decision aid on the internet.


The objectives of this study were to (1) determine the impact of the Web-based PSA Option Grid patient decision aid on preference shift, knowledge, and decisional conflict; (2) identify which frequently asked questions (FAQs) are associated with preference shift; and (3) explore the possible relationships between these outcomes.


Data were collected between January 1, 2016, and December 30, 2017. Users who accessed the Web-based, interactive PSA Option Grid were provided with 3 options: have a PSA test, no PSA test, or unsure. Users first declared their initial preference and then completed 5 knowledge questions and a 4-item (yes or no) validated decisional conflict scale (Sure of myself, Understand information, Risk-benefit ratio, Encouragement; SURE). Next, users were presented with 10 FAQs and asked to identify their preference for each question based on the information provided. At the end, users declared their final preference and completed the same knowledge and decisional conflict questions. Paired sample t tests were employed to compare before and after knowledge and decisional conflict scores. A multinomial regression analysis was performed to determine which FAQs were associated with a shift in screening preference.


Of all the people who accessed the PSA Option Grid, 39.8% (186/467) completed the interactive journey and associated surveys. After excluding 22 female users, we analyzed 164 responses. At completion, users shifted their preference to "not having the PSA test" (43/164, 26.2%, vs 117/164, 71.3%; P<.001), had higher levels of knowledge (112/164, 68.3%, vs 146/164, 89.0%; P<.001), and lower decisional conflict (94/164, 57.3%, vs 18/164, 11.0%; P<.001). There were 3 FAQs associated with preference shift: "What does the test involve?" "If my PSA level is high, what are the chances that I have prostate cancer?" and "What are the risks?" We did not find any relationship between knowledge, decisional conflict, and preference shift.


Unprompted use of the interactive PSA Option Grid leads to preference shift, increased knowledge, and reduced decisional conflict, which confirms the ability of these tools to influence decision making, even when used outside clinical encounters.


conflict; decision aids; decision making; patient preference; prostate screening; prostate-specific antigen

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