Development and user-testing of a web-based patient decision aid for self-management interventions

Decision aids are tools that can be used by clinicians and patients to support shared decision-making about health care options. COMPAR-EU decision-aids are interactive web-based tools and are available in several languages.

23. November 2021 | by Claudia Valli | Fundació Privada Institut de Recerca de l´Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau (IR-HSCSP)

Towards the end of the COMPAR-EU project – after completing network meta-analysis, assessing the certainty of the evidence, selecting the most promising interventions for the four different chronic conditions, and formulating recommendations on these interventions – we are now in the process of developing interactive web-based decision aids tools including all of the above information.

COMPAR-EU decision-aids will assist patients to decide on which self-management intervention best suits them. They will help them to compare different intervention options (e.g., how important are the potential desirable and undesirable effects), and prepare them to participate with their health professional in making an optimally informed decision.

We relied on the work conducted by leaders in the field of shared decision-making, including the Ker Unit at Mayo Clinic, and other emerging groups like the MAGIC consortium to identify the main aspects that need to be included and considered in their development. We also reviewed research synthesis in this field, and existing decision aids tools. Finally, after an in-depth brainstorming, we developed a first prototype.

To ensure the usability and understandability, we gathered feedback from a Task Force, a multidisciplinary group including patients, clinicians, methodologists, and other relevant stakeholders. We also assembled an external group of patients who have been involved in previous steps of the COMPAR-EU project. With the Task Force, we held regular meetings in which we presented the tools and their progress, whereas with the patients’ group we conducted a workshop in which we presented the prototype. Finally, we conducted semi-structured interviews with patients. At the moment, we are currently working on making all the necessary changes in the decision aid web-based tools and have an optimal version ready to conduct – in collaboration with OptiMedis – user-testing with patients and health professionals.

This user-testing will allow us to identify errors and areas of improvement by asking both, patients and health professionals, about their experience navigating the web-based decision aid tool. With their feedback, we will finalize the web-based decision aid tools, translate them into six different languages (English, French, German, Spanish, Dutch and Greek) and make them available in the COMPAR-EU platform during 2022.


Claudia Valli

Claudia Valli is a Researcher at the Biomedical Research Institute (Hospital Sant Pau) and a PhD Candidate in the Methodology of Biomedical Research and Public Health Programme (Univeristat Autonoma of Barcelona). Her work focuses on conducting clinical and nutritional systematic reviews and synthetising research evidence to support informed decision-making and guideline development.