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Patient decision aids (PDAs)

Patient decision aids (PDAs) are tools that can help people engage in shared health decisions with their health care provider.

What are patient decision aids?

Patient decision aids are tools that can help people engage in shared health decisions with their health care provider. Research shows that use of patient decision aids leads to increased knowledge, more accurate risk perception, and fewer patients remaining passive or undecided about their care. For example, a patient decision aid could help a pregnant woman who previously had a cesarean section to determine if she is a good candidate for a vaginal birth after cesarean.

How do we ensure the quality of patient decision aids?

Washington State law recognizes that certification plays a significant role in assuring the quality of decision aids used by consumers, providers and payers.

With support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, we worked with state and national stakeholders to develop a process to certify high quality patient decision aids for use by providers and their patients in Washington State. Washington State’s leadership in creating the decision aid certification process provides a model that other states can adopt.

HCA began accepting patient decision aids for certification in April 2016. A list of certified patient decision aids can be found on our website.

What priority areas are currently being accepted?

HCA is currently accepting patient decision aids for the topic of cardiac care. The submission period will be open through October 12, 2018.

New for this round, HCA will charge an application fee of $3,000 for review of each decision aid. Fees will be waived for aids that are made available to the public at no charge.

If you would like to submit an application and patient decision aid for consideration for certification, please fill out the following application materials and submit electronically to shareddecisionmaking@hca.wa.gov.

What happens after HCA certifies patient decision aids?

After notifying the developer of our decision to certify, the HCA posts information about the decision aid and the developer so health care providers know where they can get the certified aids to use with their patients. The information includes a direct link to the developer's website, and if available, to the certified patient decision aid.

In some cases there may not be a direct link to the certified patient decision aid. This is because there may be a fee that providers must pay to use the aid with their patients. Not all decision aids are free because they may be proprietary and only available through your provider or health care system.

While they are "patient" decision aids, it is important to remember that these tools are meant to be used as part of shared decision making with their provider.

The patient decision aids are different from educational materials available online and in clinical practices, because they include information that helps patients make decisions about whether to have a specific treatment or screening based on their personal preferences, and assumes there is a choice that needs to be made. Therefore, when we certify aids the immediate target audience is the clinical provider.


Email: shareddecisionmaking@hca.wa.gov
Name: Laura Pennington​
Title: Practice transformation manager
Phone: 360-725-1231