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J Patient Exp. 2019 Mar;6(1):81-86. doi: 10.1177/2374373518778343. Epub 2018 Jun 6.

Comparative Usability Study of a Newly Created Patient-Centered Tool and Plan Finder to Help Medicare Beneficiaries Choose Prescription Drug Plans.

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Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute, Mountain View, CA, USA.
Mayo Clinic School of Medicine, Rochester, MN, USA.
Department of Health Research and Policy, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA.
Sutter Health, San Carlos, CA, USA.
Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute Patient Advisory Council, Portola Valley, CA, USA.
University of California San Diego School of Medicine, La Jolla, CA, USA.



In response to reported difficulties in selecting a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, we designed a patient-centered online Part D plan selection tool (CHOICE1.0) to simplify the selection process and to provide personalized, expert recommendations.


This ethnographic comparative usability study observed 44 patients using the first version of the tool during Medicare 2016 Open Enrollment. Participants were observed as they chose their drug plan using and 1 of 3 versions of CHOICE1.0 that varied in amount of expert guidance. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze exit survey data. The observations were video-recorded, and field notes were analyzed thematically.


Participants were significantly more satisfied with CHOICE1.0 for choosing a plan, understanding information, and ease of use compared to Those using expert versions of CHOICE1.0 were more likely to indicate their intention to switch plans than those using, though they wanted to know the source and content.


The more patient-centered prescription drug choice tool improved user experience and enabled users to choose plans more consistent with expert recommendations.


Medicare Part D; medical decision making; mixed methods; patient-centered decision support; usability study

Conflict of interest statement

Declaration of Conflicting Interests: The author(s) declared the following potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. All statements presented in this article, including its findings and conclusions, are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), its Board of Governors, or Methodology Committee.

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