The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute and the American Heart Association have teamed to build a new research center to create or refine “decision aid tools,” a type of decision support, to help patients with atrial fibrillation more easily make choices on their treatment options with their physicians.

Two decision aid support tools are being developed—the first is for patients with atrial fibrillation to use on their own before an office visit, with the second tool to be used with the doctor during the visit.

“Shared decision making tools can be very useful in helping patients, their families and their clinicians better understand and discuss how to balance the benefits and risks of their treatment options,” says Joe Selby, MD, an executive director at PCORI.

Exactly what the decision aids will do and how they will work is not yet clear. “It’s possible that the center may access decision aids that involve health IT,” a spokesperson says, “but it is too early to say which existing data aids may be considered for building or refining in this project.”

The tools initially will be assessed to determine if when used individually and together they can promote better shared decisions by patient and physician on which oral blood-thinning drugs to prevent stroke would best fit patient goals and preferences.

The center also will conduct an environmental scan to identify tools that have demonstrated efficacy in shared healthcare decision making processes, and the scan will seek to identify other examples of decision aids and work to refine them.

Also See: Smartwatch app accurately detects atrial fibrillation in patients

PCORI and AHA will build the PCORI-AHA Decide Center at the University of Utah to house the research project. On June 12, the AHA launched the AFib Strategically Focused Research Network, which is within the Decide Center and includes six research centers that will study the causes, biology, pathophysiology and epidemiology of atrial fibrillation, and then develop new ways to treat the disease and prevent strokes.

Following development, the decision aids will be tested in a clinical trial and if results are favorable the tools could improve the quality of anticoagulation therapy and the care and outcomes of millions of patients with AFib, according to Selby.

PCORI has invested $2.75 million in the project and the AHA has provided $2.5 million that was underwritten by AHA supporters David and Stevie Spina. David is a former chair and CEO at State Street Bank in Massachusetts.

More information is available here.