There is now yet another new Cochrane review of the evidence on patient decision aids. Here are the conclusions:
- When people use decision aids, they improve their knowledge of the options (high-quality evidence) and feel better informed and more clear about what matters most to them (high-quality evidence).
- They probably have more accurate expectations of benefits and harms of options (moderate-quality evidence) and probably participate more in decision making (moderate-quality evidence).
- People who use decision aids may achieve decisions that are consistent with their informed values (evidence is not as strong; more research could change results).
- People and their clinicians were more likely to talk about the decision when using a decision aid.
- Decision aids have a variable effect on the option chosen, depending on the choice being considered.
- Decision aids do not worsen health outcomes, and people using them are not less satisfied.
- More research is needed to assess if people continue with the option they chose and also to assess what impact decision aids have on healthcare systems.