A new Cochrane Library Editorial has been published about the history of a recently updated Cochrane review on healthcare decision aids and its implications for practice. There is also an accompanying podcast where you can hear the current lead author explain the need for the review and its latest findings in under four minutes.
Decision aids are one type of tool that can be used to support the process of shared decision making between patients and their health professionals, a key element of person-centred care and health system improvements. A major update to the landmark Cochrane review on decision aids has just been published with an analysis of 209 studies involving 107,698 participants. It provides clear evidence of the benefits of the use of decision aids over usual care across a huge array of health options, ranging from choices about cancer screening to decisions about major elective surgery.
An accompanying editorial describes the influence of this review on practice for over 20 years, with successive updates responding to the changing understanding of decision aids and shared decision-making over this time. The review has been referred to in more than 90 clinical practice guidelines and has been one of the most cited reviews published in the Cochrane Library for over a decade.
With more convincing evidence of the benefits of using decision aids now available, the editorial discusses implications for practice and highlights some remaining challenges of implementing decision aids. This Cochrane review will continue to be updated and the authors hope to see the findings not only reflected in many guidelines but implemented across many health systems.
- Read the Cochrane Library editorial
Ryan RE, Hill S. Decision aids: challenges for practice when we have confidence in effectiveness. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2024, Issue 1. Art. No.: ED000164. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.ED000164.
- Read the Cochrane review
Stacey D, Lewis KB, Smith M, Carley M, Volk R, Douglas EE, Pacheco-Brousseau L, Finderup J, Gunderson J, Barry MJ, Bennett CL, Bravo P, Steffensen K, Gogovor A, Graham ID, Kelly SE, Légaré F, Sondergaard H, Thomson R, Trenaman L, Trevena L. Decision aids for people facing health treatment or screening decisions. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2024, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD001431. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001431.pub6.
- Listen to the podcast
Current lead author, Dawn Stacey from the University of Ottawa and Ottawa Hospital Research Institute in Canada, explains the need for the review and its latest findings in under 4 minutes.
- Evidently Cochrane blog - Decision aids: helping people make better healthcare choices
When faced with healthcare choices, how do we work out what to do? Decision aids can help, as can good conversations with our clinicians as part of shared decision-making, discussions that take into account clinical expertise, evidence and personal factors such as our preferences and circumstances. This blog includes Joanna’s story of her experience of making an important treatment decision but without the benefit of supportive discussions with her surgeon, plus some Cochrane evidence and useful UK resources.