Peering into the black box: a meta-analysis of how clinicians use decision aids during clinical encounters Academic Article uri icon

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  • OBJECTIVE: To quantify the extent to which clinicians use clinically-efficacious decision aids as intended during implementation in practice and how fidelity to usage instructions correlates with shared decision making (SDM) outcomes. METHODS: Participant-level meta-analysis including six practice-based randomized controlled trials of SDM in various clinical settings encompassing a range of decisions. RESULTS: Of 339 encounters in the SDM intervention arm of the trials, 229 were video recorded and available for analysis. The mean proportion of fidelity items observed in each encounter was 58.4% (SD = 23.2). The proportion of fidelity items observed was significantly associated with patient knowledge (p = 0.01) and clinician involvement of the patient in decision making (p <0.0001), while no association was found with patient decisional conflict or satisfaction with the encounter. CONCLUSION: Clinicians' fidelity to usage instructions of point-of-care decision aids in randomized trials was suboptimal during their initial implementation in practice, which may have underestimated the potential efficacy of decision aids when used as intended.


  • Wyatt, Kirk D
  • Branda, Megan E
  • Anderson, Ryan T
  • Pencille, Laurie J
  • Montori, Victor
  • Hess, Erik P
  • Ting, Henry H
  • LeBlanc, Annie

publication date

  • December 2014