Decision aid

Jacqueline A. ter Stege, Kerry Sherman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary/reference book


A decision aid is a tool designed to facilitate the process of shared decision-making between patients and physicians. Decision aids have typically been developed for preference sensitive health decisions where the patient’s preferences and values are critical for identifying how best to proceed. A decision aid aims to clarify the choice that has to be made and provide understandable information about treatment options, including the likely benefits and harms of each option. Also, it helps to clarify personal values of the patient, often through the use of value clarification exercises, and supports patients to make well-informed decisions that align with their personal preferences and values. As an adjunct to clinical consultation, decision aids can be used prior to, during (“encounter tools”), and/or after the physician consultation. The format of decision aids ranges from paper-based booklets, videos or DVDs, and web-based applications, to face-to-face/live interventions, such as an extra consultation with a social worker. The International Patient Decision Aids Standards (IPDAS) outlines a set of criteria that guide the development of decision aids, including their developmental process, content, and function, and that provide a framework by which decision aids can be judged for quality (Elwyn et al. 2006; Joseph-Williams et al. 2014). IPDAS quality criteria include among others whether the decision aid provides realistic and accurate expectations of risk and whether there is evidence that the decision aid improves patients’ knowledge and leads to decisions that reflect the values held by the decision aid user (Joseph-Williams et al. 2014; Elwyn et al. 2006).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of behavioral medicine
EditorsMarc D. Gellman
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
Number of pages3
ISBN (Electronic)9783030399030
ISBN (Print)9783030399016
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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