Thomas Jefferson UniversityJefferson Medical College

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Overview

The Center for Health Decisions at Thomas Jefferson University was established to improve health decision making. The aims of the Center are to...

  • Make health decision services available to patients and health care providers.
  • Offer education and training in informed and shared decision making to health care providers.
  • Conduct research on informed and shared decision making in health care.

Research

Research at the Center for Health Decisions aims to identify factors that influence health care decisions. Foci for research include knowledge change, emotional responses, and behavior outcomes related to decision support; perceptions and performance of providers who deliver decision support; and the impact of decision support on health outcomes and practice patterns. Reducing disparities in decision making is an important interest of the Center. Research in decision making can contribute to health care policy and administration, medical education, clinical care, and community outreach.

Service

The Center provides decision counseling services to facilitate patient decision making along the continuum of care and across the lifespan. Decisions may relate to lifestyle changes, early detection tests, risk assessment, treatment, quality of life, or survivorship in priority populations.

The Center serves healthcare providers, patients, and members of the community by delivering respectful and confidential, high quality decision support services through direct service, consultation, and referral. The Center provides outreach education to a wide range of public, private, professional, and community organizations.

Decision support enables patients and providers to explore the pros and cons associated with challenging health care decisions; identify important factors that influence decisions making; weigh the influence of relevant factors; clarify personal preference among available options; and encourage selection of an option that makes sense. Outcomes of decision support may include...

  • Increased patient and provider awareness and understanding of available healthcare options.
  • Increased provider awareness and understanding of patient preferences.
  • Increased patient and provider satisfaction.
  • Decreased time required by providers for patient education and counseling.
  • Improved clinical outcomes.

Training

Qualified faculty and staff provide education and training related to decision support. Major components include didactic presentations, mock decision-counseling support, decision-counseling performance support, and mentoring by an experienced personnel.

The Center makes appropriate training available to medical, nursing, and allied health professional students. The Center also makes training available to different provider groups, including physicians, nurses, allied health professionals, and provider organizations. Training programs are tailored in length and content to the needs of each group.