Decision Aids

A decision aid is a tool used to inform patients about available treatments, along with potential benefits, risks and costs, during clinical encounters. Decision aids use a shared, informed approach to clinical decision-making. Potential outcomes of decision aids include increased patient knowledge of available treatments, greater patient participation in decision-making, and improved patient health status and quality of life.

It is estimated that 15 to 20 percent of all prescriptions go unfilled. Patients decide whether to fill a prescription, or not, outside of the physician's office. How can we better facilitate the conversation between patients and providers about medication options during clinical encounters?

In collaboration with the Knowledge and Evaluation Research (KER) Unit, the Center for Innovation is testing a variety of tools called decision aids to enhance clinical decision-making. Decision aids address a variety of patient concerns, including weight changes, side effects, impact on daily routine, daily monitoring expectations and cost.


Decision aids have been prototypes in these clinical areas:

  • Diabetes
  • Statins
  • Osteoporosis
  • Depression
  • Acute myocardial infarction

The center's team used an iterative, low-fidelity prototyping approach to get patient feedback early and often. Examples of the various prototypes can be found in the case study below.


The Center for Innovation and KER have successfully implemented decision aids in a variety of inpatient and outpatient clinical areas, and the team published their clinical research findings.