This website is no longer actively maintained
Some material and features may be unavailable

Resources: Patient decision aids, doctor and hospital information, hospital ratings and comparisons

Patient Decision Aids

What ia a Patient Based Decision Aid?

The goal of patient based decision aids is to illuminate available options to patients in an unbiased way. They explain the risks and the benefits of each option based on evidence and inform patients about potential outcomes. Decision aids allow patients to think about their personal values and attitudes about risk.

Decision aids give patients all of the pertinent facts so that when they meet with their doctor, they will be able to make a more informed decision. Information in a decision aid is tailored to meet the needs of each individual illness and situation. There are clarification exercises to help everyone involved understand their condition. Examples of other patients who had the same or similar problems are described, which can help the patient better understand their condition and possible outcomes.

Shared Decision-Making

Foundation for Informed Medical Decision- Making
The Foundation for Informed Medical Decision- Making is a non-profit organization promoting changes in the health care system to ensure that treatment decisions are made with the active participation of fully informed patients. The foundation has been working to advance evidence-based shared Decision-Making through research, policy, clinical models and patient decision aids.

Health Dialog
Health Dialog website provides decision-aids to improve informed shared Decision-Making .

Center for Shared Decision-Making
The Center for Shared Decision-Making at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire supports shared Decision-Making by providing an online decision aid library and one-on-one decision support counseling.

Ottawa Hospital Research Institute’s Patient Decision Aids Research Group
The Patient Decision Aids Research Group was established in November 1995 to help patients and their health practitioners make “tough” health care decisions. The Group provides an online library of patient decision aids.

Choosing Wisely
Choosing Wisely is an initiative of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation that focuses on encouraging physicians, patients, and other health care stakeholders to think and talk about potentially unnecessary and harmful medical tests and procedures. To date, the initiative has collected lists of “Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question” from each of nine medical specialty professional organizations.

Shared Decision-Making Toolkit
This resource, aimed at health care professionals, provides information and toolkits that outline how to start a health care decision support service.

How To Find Out More Information About Your Doctor and Hospital

If you want to learn about your doctor’s background including board certification and medical malpractice sanctions history, there are a few steps to take. You can contact your State Medical Board, or you can do additional research online.

Certification Matters
Certification matters is a website you can use to find out if your doctor is board certified.

Health Grades
Here you can research doctors based on your geographic location. Important factors like specialty, board certification, common conditions treated, malpractice, sanctions, and board actions among other information can be found on this website.

Hospital Ratings and Comparisons

Comparing Health Care Quality: A National Directory
Comparing Health Care Quality is a resource created by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that provides access to public records and information about health care across the nation. The directory includes information on actual outcomes, patient experiences, and cost for various physicians and hospitals.

Hospital Compare
Hospital Compare, a tool created by the U.S. government’s Department of Health and Human Services, allows consumers to compare up to three hospitals at a time, looking at measures such as outcome of care, patient experiences, and safety measures.

The Leapfrog Group
The Leapfrog Group aims to improve the quality, safety, and affordability of health care by helping patients make informed medical decisions. The group’s website allows consumers to view their hospital’s safety record and compare hospitals using safety as a central measure.

Quality Check
Launched in 1996 by the Joint Commission, Quality Check aims to provide “meaningful information about the comparative performance of accredited organizations to the public.” The site allows consumers to search for accredited health care organizations and view the performance measures and quality reports of each.

This website, part of the government’s official site for Medicare, quantifies outcomes and scores hospitals, nursing homes, and home care providers on a wide range of health and safety measures.

Consumer Reports
This independent, nonprofit group allows subscribers to compare up to five hospitals using measures such as safety scores, infection rates, and the availability of electronic records.

Health Care News

Kaiser Health News
Kaiser Health News is a non-profit news organization dedicated to covering health care policy and politics. Their website includes in-depth articles as well as daily summaries of major health care news stories from across the country.

Health News is a website that aims to improve the quality of news stories about medical care and help readers evaluate evidence for and against new ideas in health care. The objective of the site is to promote informed medical decision-making among readers by framing news information about medical care in an unbiased way.

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force
The USPSTF is an independent panel of experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine and is composed of primary care providers (such as internists, pediatricians, family physicians, gynecologists/obstetricians, nurses, and health behavior specialists). Browse this site to learn about their process for research and decision-making as well as for up-to-date recommendations about cancer screenings and treatments.