Learning from the process of developing a decision support tool

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This case study describes the benefits that Cardiff's head and neck cancer team experienced from the process of developing and implementing an option grid to support shared decision making as part of the Health Foundation's MAGIC programme. 

Cardiff’s head and neck cancer team were particularly interested in using decision support tools. When they discovered none were suitable for their needs, they decided to develop their own. With MAGIC’s support, the team created ‘Option Grids’.

They found that, as well as the benefits to patients of  increased discussion about reasonable treatment options and the evidence - or lack of evidence - about likely risks and benefits of different options, the process of developing the option grids was in itself beneficial as it:

  • enabled a team-based understanding of shared decision making, including increased awareness of the importance of presenting treatment options
  • standardised how patients are told information about their treatment options,  narrowing the variance between clinicians
  • aided the development of tools for local situations
  • gave teams a sense of ownership
  • led to further discussion about how shared decision making can be part of a strong professionally-oriented multidisciplinary team.

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