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A decision aid for women considering hormone therapy after menopause: decision support framework and evaluation


Although postmenopausal women are advised to consider their values when deliberating about potential benefits and risks of hormone therapy (HRT), feasible, effective methods of decision support in primary care have yet to be established. Using an explicit decision support framework, we developed a self-administered HRT decision aid and evaluated it in a before/after study of 94 women from six family practices. An audiotape guided women through an illustrated booklet including: detailed information about HRT benefits and risks tailored to a woman's clinical risk, and a values clarification exercise to promote informed decision making consistent with personal values. After using the decision aid participants: had better general knowledge and more realistic personal expectations of HRT benefits and risk; and, felt more certain, informed, clear about values, and supported in decision making. Women's values elicited in the clarification exercise were 84% accurate in discriminating between decisions. Women with polarized preferences at baseline did not change their minds, but were better informed. Changes in preferences occurred in the uncertain group, with equal numbers accpeting or declining HRT. Most participants found the decision aid comprehensible, acceptable in length and pace, and balanced. Decision aids are useful in preparing women for decision making about this complex, personal issue.



O'Connor AM, Tugwell P, Wells GA, Elmslie T, Jolly E, Hollingworth G, McPherson R, Bunn H, Graham I, Drake E. Patient Educ Couns. 1998; 33(3):267-79.