Increasing the use of patient decision aids in orthopaedic care: results of a quality improvement project

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To integrate patient decision aid (DA) delivery to promote shared decision-making and provide more patient-centred care within an orthopaedic surgery department for treatment of hip and knee osteoarthritis, lumbar herniated disc and lumbar spinal stenosis.


Different strategies were used across three distinct phases to promote DA delivery. First, we used a quality improvement bonus to generate awareness and interest in the DAs among specialists. Second, we adapted the electronic referral management system to enable DA orders at referral to a specialist. Third, we engaged clinic staff and specialists to design workflows that promoted DA delivery. We tracked the number of patients who received a DA, who ordered the DA, and collected usage data from a subset of patients. Our target was to reach 60% of patients with DAs.


In phase 1, 28% (43/155) of spine patients and 37% (114/308) of hip/knee patients received a DA. In phase 2, 54% (64/118) of spine referrals and 58% (189/324) of hip/knee referrals included a request to send a patient a DA. In phase 3, 56% (90/162) of spine patients and 69% (213/307) of hip/knee patients received a DA, significantly more than in phase 1 (P<0.0001). In phase 3, both more DAs were ordered by clinic staff compared with specialists (56% phase 3 vs 34% phase 1, P<0.001) and sent before the visit (74% phase 3 vs 17% phase 1, P<0.001). Patients were more likely to report reviewing the DA when delivered before the visit (63% before vs 50% after, P=0.005).


DA implementation into clinic workflow is possible and facilitated by engagement of the entire care team and the support of health information technology.

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