Incorporate Decision Aids Into a Health Care Quality Report

One way to reduce the burden of decisionmaking for users is to provide some kind of decision aid, such as—a list of steps, a worksheet, or a checklist.

An alternative strategy is to provide personal assistance with the decisionmaking process. Learn more about this approach. Provide Access to Information Intermediaries.

A List of Steps in the Decisionmaking Process

Many consumers do not have a clear idea of how to make a decision related to health care. In focus groups, respondents have explicitly asked for a step-by-step guide to the decisionmaking process. Your report can suggest a list of steps, which do not have to be in sequential order. For example, the California Office of the Patient Advocate suggests that consumers compare benefits, costs, quality, and other factors, such as the availability of personal providers in the plan’s network.

A Worksheet or Checklist

To help people make a decision, you can provide them with:

  • A list of things they should consider in making a decision. Read about telling people what to consider in Help People Make Decisions.
  • Checklists of questions to ask, or features to observe, when visiting a provider or facility.

If possible, make these aids available on the same page as the information they support.

Decisionmaking worksheets may be too complex for some audiences, but they are useful to include if consumers may get help from family members, friends, or information intermediaries in making their decision. Read about information intermediaries in Provide Access to Information Intermediaries.

Tips for Producing Useful Worksheets

  • Consistent language. To minimize confusion, make the language in the worksheet consistent with other language you have used in the report. If you “import” someone else’s worksheet, be sure to revise it to fit in with your report.
  • Space. Include sufficient space for people to insert information from your report as well as information from other sources.

EXAMPLE: Checklists and Worksheets to Support Decisionmaking

Sponsor: California HealthCare Foundation; University of California San Francisco

The Web site offers a checklist that consists of a list of questions that a person can either ask when looking for nursing homes or use to evaluate nursing facilities and then compare facilities with one another.

Source: California HealthCare Foundation. Available at

Page last reviewed November 2018
Page originally created February 2015
Internet Citation: Incorporate Decision Aids Into a Health Care Quality Report. Content last reviewed November 2018. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.
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