Development of Complementary Encounter and Patient Decision Aids for Shared Decision Making about Stroke Prevention in Atrial Fibrillation

for the Step up Afib Writing Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Decision aids (DAs) are helpful instruments used to support shared decision making (SDM). Patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) face complex decisions regarding stroke prevention strategies. While a few DAs have been made for AF stroke prevention, an encounter DA (EDA) and patient DA (PDA) have not been created to be used in conjunction with each other before. Design: Using iterative user-centered design, we developed 2 DAs for anticoagulation choice and stroke prevention in AF. Prototypes were created, and we elicited feedback from patients and experts via observations of encounters, usability testing, and semistructured interviews. Results: User testing was done with 33 experts (in AF and SDM) and 51 patients from 6 institutions. The EDA and PDA underwent 1 and 4 major iterations, respectively. Major differences between the DAs included AF pathophysiology and a preparation to meet with the clinician in the PDA as well as different language throughout. Content areas included personalized stroke risk, differences between anticoagulants, and risks of bleeding. Based on user feedback, developers 1) addressed feelings of isolation with AF, 2) improved navigation options, 3) modified content and flow for users new to AF and those experienced with AF, 4) updated stroke risk pictographs, and 5) added structure to the preparation for decision making in the PDA. Limitations: These DAs focus only on anticoagulation for stroke prevention and are online, which may limit participation for those less comfortable with technology. Conclusions: Designing complementary DAs for use in tandem or separately is a new method to support SDM between patients and clinicians. Extensive user testing is essential to creating high-quality tools that best meet the needs of those using them. First-time complementary encounter and patient decision aids have been designed to work together or separately. User feedback led to greater structure and different experiences for patients naïve or experienced with anticoagulants in patient decision aids. Online tools allow for easier dissemination, use in telehealth visits, and updating as new evidence comes out.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMDM Policy and Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023


  • atrial fibrillation
  • encounter decision aid
  • patient decision aid
  • shared decision making
  • stroke prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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