Acclaim for FAIR Health Shared Decision-Making Initiative

In March, FAIR Health, with support from The New York Community Trust, launched a new feature on its consumer website, fairhealthconsumer.org, to give patients free access to shared decision-making (SDM) decision tools that have both treatment and cost information. Developed in rich collaboration with experts in SDM and palliative care, the SDM feature has garnered significant acclaim.

SDM involves patient-clinician communication to decide on tests, treatment and care based on clinical evidence balancing risks and outcomes with patient preferences and values, and largely involves the use of evidence-based strategies and patient decision aids. SDM has been shown, in certain cases, to reduce unnecessary spending and healthcare costs, and to improve decision making without an adverse effect on clinical outcomes.

The SDM tools on FAIR Health Consumer are geared for patients, and caregivers of patients, seeking information about:

  • Kidney dialysis (for patients in kidney failure);
  • Nutrition options when swallowing is difficult; and
  • Breathing assistance.

As the initiative funded by The New York Community Trust enters into its final, evaluative phase, positive feedback—on which there has been consensus from clinical experts and patient advocates alike—and a robust traffic stream continue to underscore the value and utility of the SDM feature. Since its launch on March 10, 2020, the SDM feature has received over 32,000 users, whose demographic and geographic characteristics are revealed by usage analytics. Here are a few notable statistics about users of the SDM feature:

  • Females compose 78 percent of users, while males compose 22 percent.
  • Most users are aged 55 and older, with 42 percent aged 65 and older and 30 percent aged 55-64.
  • Users are most commonly from New York State, New Jersey and Florida.

Bolstered by the participation of the clinical community and the clear appetite for SDM tools, FAIR Health will create an online companion SDM resource for healthcare providers in the palliative care space who serve older adults with serious illnesses in New York City. This new undertaking, funded by The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, will further promote SDM between providers and older adults with serious illnesses and/or their caregivers. Efforts are already underway to create this new resource, which is expected to launch in spring 2021.

On the heels of these initiatives, FAIR Health is exploring additional opportunities to develop SDM tools that outline clinical options for “preference-sensitive” conditions and events—those for which there is no one “right” choice and that depend more on a patient’s goals, values and preferences—and their associated costs. Potential topics may include treatment for certain orthopedic and cerebrovascular conditions.