This month, a much anticipated study was published in Health Affairs that addresses something we are often asked at the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation: What are the effects of decision aids on utilization rates and medical costs? Researchers from Group Health Cooperative found that when decisions aids were used for patients making a decision about whether or not to have elective knee or hip replacement surgeries, there was a significant drop in surgical procedures as more patients opted for more conservative, less costly treatment options.
Posted in Current News, President's Corner
Tagged cost, decision aids, Group Health, health care, hip osteoarthritis, hip replacement surgery, Jack Fowler, knee osteoarthritis, knee replacement surgery, Michael J. Barry, PBS, practice variation
This article discusses the use of patient decision aids in routine clinical practice for patients considering knee replacement surgery. The decision surrounding a diagnosis of knee osteoarthritis is an example of a preference-sensitive decision, meaning there is more than one viable option. Unfortunately, when patients are not fully informed, they are often unsatisfied with the outcome due to unrealistic expectations and a lack of understanding of the potential benefits and harms. The authors describe how implementation of patient decision aids, to support a shared decision making process, may address these issues and improve patient satisfaction, specifically in the context of knee replacement surgery.