FAIR Health Reports on the Appetite for Shared Decision-Making Tools among Patients of Color

January 26, 2023

A new report from FAIR Health shows that patients of color and providers have an appetite for shared decision-making tools. Shared decision making is a discussion among patients, caregivers and healthcare providers. It balances clinical options and patient preferences to make care decisions.

In May 2022, FAIR Health launched four new decision aids—tools to be used in shared decision making. The decision aids are in the shared decision-making section of the free, award-winning website fairhealthconsumer.org. The decision aids are for three health problems that especially affect people of color. The health problems are uterine fibroids (with separate tools for procedures and medicines), slow-growing prostate cancer and type 2 diabetes. The tools combine the clinical information in OptionGrid™ decision aids that FAIR Health licensed from EBSCO with cost information from FAIR Health. The tools are supported by educational content about the health problems featured. Also available are patient resources and checklists of questions to ask providers when making healthcare decisions.

This program was generously funded by the New York Health Foundation. It was carried out with the help of Yale professor Chima Ndumele, PhD.

The new report on the program offers insights as to how patients use the tools to help make decisions. These are some of the findings in the report.

The new decision aids are useful and easy to use. Users in focus groups said that they found the tools “very useful.” Some said they would share the tools with their friends and networks. One patient said that he felt the “fear factor’s going to be gone now, by my point of view” when it comes to making decisions. Another said that, if she had had the tools, she would have been able to advocate for herself when struggling with diabetes.

In a survey, 80 percent of users said the tools made it “easier” or “much easier” to make a decision. Seventy-six percent said the cost information was “helpful” or “very helpful.” Seventy-six percent said they would recommend the tools to others.

The educational content and resources are useful. Users in focus groups found the educational content and resources useful. The patient checklists received special praise. One patient said: “I thought the checklists were pretty thorough, and I feel like they’re helpful. And I liked that you could download the printable version of it…I thought [it] was good to have.”

We told people about the tools using different channels. To spread the word about the tools, FAIR Health reached out to many people. These included patients, providers, community organizations, departments of health and groups that serve people of color, among others. One channel that proved useful to reach patients and providers was Facebook ads.