Digital encounter decision aids linked to clinical practice guidelines: results from user testing SHARE-IT decision aids in primary care Journal Articles uri icon

  • Overview
  • Research
  • Identity
  • Additional Document Info
  • View All


  • Abstract Background Encounter decision aids (EDAs) are tools that can support shared decision making (SDM), up to the clinical encounter. However, adoption of these tools has been limited, as they are hard to produce, to keep up-to-date, and are not available for many decisions. The MAGIC Evidence Ecosystem Foundation has created a new generation of decision aids that are generically produced along digitally structured guidelines and evidence summaries, in an electronic authoring and publication platform (MAGICapp). We explored general practitioners’ (GPs) and patients' experiences with five selected decision aids linked to BMJ Rapid Recommendations in primary care. Methods We applied a qualitative user testing design to evaluate user experiences for both GPs and patients. We translated five EDAs relevant to primary care, and observed the clinical encounters of 11 GPs when they used the EDA with their patients. We conducted a semi-structured interview with each patient after the consultation and a think-aloud interview with each GPs after multiple consultations. We used the Qualitative Analysis Guide (QUAGOL) for data analysis. Results Direct observations and user testing analysis of 31 clinical encounters showed an overall positive experience. The EDAs created better involvement in decision making and resulted in meaningful insights for patients and clinicians. The design and its interactive, multilayered structure made the tool enjoyable and well-organized. Difficult terminology, scales and numbers hindered understanding of certain information, which was sometimes perceived as too specialized or even intimidating. GPs thought the EDA was not suitable for every patient. They perceived a learning curve was required and the need for time investment was a concern. The EDAs were considered trustworthy as they were provided by a credible source. Conclusions This study showed that EDAs can be useful tools in primary care by supporting actual shared decision making and enhancing patient involvement. The graphical approach and clear representation help patients better understand their options. To overcome barriers such as health literacy and GPs attitudes, effort is still needed to make the EDAs as accessible, intuitive and inclusive as possible through use of plain language, uniform design, rapid access and training. Trial registration The study protocol was approved by the The Research Ethics Committee UZ/KU Leuven (Belgium) on 31–10-2019 with reference number MP011977.


  • Van Bostraeten, Pieter
  • Aertgeerts, Bert
  • Bekkering, Geertruida
  • Delvaux, Nicolas
  • Haers, Anna
  • Vanheeswyck, Matisse
  • Vandekendelaere, Alexander
  • Van der Auwera, Niels
  • Dijckmans, Charlotte
  • Ostyn, Elise
  • Soontjens, Willem
  • Matthysen, Wout
  • Schenk, Noémie
  • Mertens, Lien
  • Jaeken, Jasmien
  • Agoritsas, Thomas
  • Vermandere, Mieke

publication date

  • May 22, 2023