Patient decision aids (P-DAs) inform medical decision making, but longer term effects are unknown. This article describes extended follow-up from a thyroid cancer treatment P-DA trial.
In this single-center, parallel-design randomized controlled trial conducted at a Canadian tertiary/quaternary care center, early-stage thyroid cancer patients from a P-DA trial were contacted 15 to 23 months after randomization/radioactive iodine (RAI) decision making to evaluate longer term outcomes. It was previously reported that the use of the computerized P-DA in thyroid cancer patients considering postsurgical RAI treatment significantly improved medical knowledge in comparison with usual care alone. The P-DA and control groups were compared for the following outcomes: feeling informed about the RAI treatment choice, decision satisfaction, decision regret, cancer-related worry, and physician trust. In a subgroup of 20 participants, in-depth interviews were conducted for a qualitative analysis.
Ninety-five percent (70 of 74) of the original population enrolled in follow-up at a mean of 17.1 months after randomization. P-DA users perceived themselves to be significantly more 1) informed about the treatment choice (P = .008), 2) aware of options (P = .009), 3) knowledgeable about treatment benefits (P = .020), and 4) knowledgeable about treatment risks/side effects (P = .001) in comparison with controls. There were no significant group differences in decision satisfaction (P = .142), decision regret (P = .199), cancer-related worry (P = .645), mood (P = .211), or physician trust (P = .764). In the qualitative analysis, the P-DA was perceived to have increased patient knowledge and confidence in decision making.
The P-DA improved cancer survivors' actual and long-term perceived medical knowledge with no adverse effects. More research on the long-term outcomes of P-DA use is needed.