Finding and using research evidence: A guide for citizens (Patient Decision Aids)

Finding and using research evidence: A guide for citizens (Patient Decision Aids)


There are at least important challenges for anyone looking for research evidence about health information that address topics that are most relevant to them. The overwhelming volume of research evidence that’s available online and not knowing exactly how high quality this research evidence is when you find it. This makes it a real challenge to find and use relevant high quality information and also makes it difficult to tell which results from research you should trust. Identifying the results from high quality systematic reviews is one way to overcome this challenge Welcome to module three in the finding and
using research evidence a guide for citizens
course. In this module we’ll focus on patient decision
aids. There is a lot of information available to patients who are asked to make decisions about their clinical care but most of it is not packaged in a way that supports them to make the most informed decision. It is becoming increasingly common for
patients to play a more prominent role in
decision-making about their own care. While in the past Health Care providers often
told that patients what they should do nowadays they often provide them with a
range of options about what they could
choose to do and this is used to help them choose from
the best options about how to age optimally, live well with their conditions, manage diseases, or make specific
treatment choices. Patients often need additional information to
support them in making decisions about
which care options are the best for them but many of the sources
of health information available to them have
not been designed for this purpose. To overcome the challenges we just
mentioned patient decision aids were developed to
support patients to make informed choices
about their care options alongside their Health Care
providers. Patient decision aids help patients to make
choices about their care by making explicit the decision that needs to
be made, providing information about the options and
outcomes associated with these options, and by helping them to clarify their personal
values and how these values might influence
the choices that they make. Patient decision aids can help with the
outcomes of the care choices available to
citizens when they’re uncertain. These resources can also help provide
patients with a tool to work through how their
own values influence how they perceive each benefit and
harm associated with their choices. Some treatments for example may offer
longer life although they don’t guarantee that this
extension in life is the best quality. This means some people would rather not
pursue it. Values are particularly important input in
treatment decision-making when patients
and health providers are working together to make
the choices that make the most sense for
them. This is especially helpful when culture plays a huge role in making decisions about Health Care for example indigenous ways of knowing may be required alongside the best available health information contained in patient decision aids to make a
more comprehensive holistic decision about treatment decisions. It’s important to acknowledge that not all
patient decision aids are created equal.
Specifically, not all patient decision aids are based on the
best available research evidence, not all are prepared in a transparent and
unbiased way, and not all are presented in ways that make
them easy for patients to use. The patient decision aids on the McMaster
Optimal Aging Portal are used to help patients
quickly determine whether the resource is relevant to
the choices they have to make and whether the information is high quality. Much like the web resource ratings we
covered in the last module the Portal also ensures it’s easy to browse
our search for other resources on topic
similar to those addressed in patient
decision aids. When accessing patient decision aids on the
Portal a quality rating is provided, a summary of the patient decision aid is
provided, and links to the original resource are also
provided.

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