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Open Access Debate

Adjuncts or adversaries to shared decision-making? Applying the Integrative Model of behavior to the role and design of decision support interventions in healthcare interactions

Dominick L Frosch12*, France Légaré3, Martin Fishbein4 and Glyn Elwyn5

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine & Health Services Research, University of California, Los Angeles, USA

2 Department of Health Services Research, Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute, Palo Alto, CA, USA

3 Department of Family Medicine, Université Laval, Québec City, Canada

4 Annenberg Public Policy Center, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA

5 Department of Primary Care and Public Health, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, UK

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Implementation Science 2009, 4:73  doi:10.1186/1748-5908-4-73

Published: 12 November 2009

Abstract

Background

A growing body of literature documents the efficacy of decision support interventions (DESI) in helping patients make informed clinical decisions. DESIs are frequently described as an adjunct to shared decision-making between a patient and healthcare provider, however little is known about the effects of DESIs on patients' interactional behaviors-whether or not they promote the involvement of patients in decisions.

Discussion

Shared decision-making requires not only a cognitive understanding of the medical problem and deliberation about the potential options to address it, but also a number of communicative behaviors that the patient and physician need to engage in to reach the goal of making a shared decision. Theoretical models of behavior can guide both the identification of constructs that will predict the performance or non-performance of specific behaviors relevant to shared decision-making, as well as inform the development of interventions to promote these specific behaviors. We describe how Fishbein's Integrative Model (IM) of behavior can be applied to the development and evaluation of DESIs. There are several ways in which the IM could be used in research on the behavioral effects of DESIs. An investigator could measure the effects of an intervention on the central constructs of the IM - attitudes, normative pressure, self-efficacy, and intentions related to communication behaviors relevant to shared decision-making. However, if one were interested in the determinants of these domains, formative qualitative research would be necessary to elicit the salient beliefs underlying each of the central constructs. Formative research can help identify potential targets for a theory-based intervention to maximize the likelihood that it will influence the behavior of interest or to develop a more fine-grained understanding of intervention effects.

Summary

Behavioral theory can guide the development and evaluation of DESIs to increase the likelihood that these will prepare patients to play a more active role in the decision-making process. Self-reported behavioral measures can reduce the measurement burden for investigators and create a standardized method for examining and reporting the determinants of communication behaviors necessary for shared decision-making.