Incorporating patient decision aids into standard clinical practice in an integrated delivery system

Clarissa Hsu*, David T. Liss, Emily O. Westbrook, David Arterburn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Background. Randomized controlled trials show that patient decision aids (DAs) can promote shared decision making and improve decision quality. Despite this evidence, integration of DAs into routine clinical practice has proceeded slowly. Objective. To identify factors that promote or impede integrating DAs into clinical practice in a large health care delivery system. Design. Mixed-methods case study. Setting and Patients. Group Health, an integrated health plan and care delivery system in Washington state. Intervention. The project was carried out in 6 specialty service lines using 12 video-based DAs for preference-sensitive conditions related to elective surgical procedures. Measurements. Process data, site visits, meeting observations, and in-depth interviews conducted with clinical staff, project staff, and health plan leaders in 2009 and 2010. Results. The project established systemwide and clinic-specific processes that facilitated the distribution of approximately 10,000 DAs over 2 years. Several factors were identified as important for success in this implementation, including strong support from senior leaders, establishing a system for previsit ordering and providing timely feedback to teams about distribution rates, engaging providers and staff in development of the implementation process, and finding ways to address concerns about conditions that were perceived as life-threatening and/or time sensitive. Limitations. Limitations included lack of data on patient perspectives, an implementation setting with salaried providers, and frontline provider interviews conducted in only selected service lines. Conclusions. With strong leadership, financial support, and a well-defined implementation strategy, 12 video-based DAs in 6 specialty service lines were integrated into routine practice over 2 years. Findings from this demonstration may advance the ability of other organizations to use DAs effectively and promote widespread adoption of shared decision making in routine patient care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-97
Number of pages13
JournalMedical Decision Making
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • clinical research methodology
  • decision aids
  • decision aids - tools
  • qualitative methods
  • shared decision making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


Dive into the research topics of 'Incorporating patient decision aids into standard clinical practice in an integrated delivery system'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this