WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Quality Forum has issued a set of national standards for decision aids, key resources for improving shared decision making between providers and patients.
Decision aids like videos, online tools and other resources are evidence-based tools designed to inform patients who are making specific, deliberate choices about their care among viable health care options.
“Both consumers and clinicians urgently need healthcare resources they can trust that meet a reasonable threshold for quality,” said Dr. Helen Burstin, NQF chief scientific officer, in a statement. “National standards to evaluate decision aids are critical to ensuring that these resources offer accurate information to patients so they can evaluate health care choices that reflect their goals, values and preferences.”
No national standards to validate the quality of patient decision aids have existed previously.
A panel of 21 experts, funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, evaluated the current state of decision aids, made recommendations for national standards, and proposed a two-state process to evaluate decision aids.
The first step in the evaluation process is to screen the decision aids with seven baseline criteria identified by the panel for their accuracy and appropriateness for patients and consumers, including outlining various treatment options and describing the relative pros and cons of each approach. For those patient resources that meet the baseline screen, the panel recommends applying a set of certifying criteria to determine whether a decision aid helps patients have more informed conversations about their care.
NQF is also exploring options to test the new standards through the review and potential certification of decision aids.