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JCO Clin Cancer Inform. 2018 Dec;2:1-10. doi: 10.1200/CCI.18.00013.

The Benefits and Challenges of Using Patient Decision Aids to Support Shared Decision Making in Health Care.

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Anshu Ankolekar, Andre Dekker, and Rianne Fijten, Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht; and Adriana Berlanga, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands.


Shared decision making (SDM) and patient-centered care require patients to actively participate in the decision-making process. Yet with the increasing number and complexity of cancer treatment options, it can be a challenge for patients to evaluate clinical information and make risk-benefit trade-offs to choose the most appropriate treatment. Clinicians face time constraints and communication challenges, which can further hamper the SDM process. In this article, we review patient decision aids (PDAs) as a means of supporting SDM by presenting clinical information and risk data to patients in a format that is accessible and easy to understand. We outline the benefits and limitations of PDAs as well as the challenges in their development, such as a lengthy and complex development process and implementation obstacles. Lastly, we discuss future trends and how change on multiple levels-PDA developers, clinicians, hospital administrators, and health care insurers-can support the use of PDAs and consequently SDM. Through this multipronged approach, patients can be empowered to take an active role in their health and choose treatments that are in line with their values.

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