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This article reports on the International Patient Decision Aid Standards Symposium held in 2006 at the annual meeting of the Society for Medical Decision Making in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The symposium featured a debate regarding the proposition that "decision aids are the best way to improve clinical decision making.'' The formal debate addressed the theoretical problem of the appropriate gold standard for an improved decision, efficacy of decision aids, and prospects for implementation. Audience comments and questions focused on both theory and practice: the often unacknowledged roots of decision aids in expected utility theory and the practical problems of limited patient decision aid implementation in health care. The participants' vote on the proposition was approximately half for and half against.

Original publication




Journal article


Med Decis Making

Publication Date





599 - 608


Congresses as Topic, Decision Support Techniques, Evidence-Based Medicine, Humans, Massachusetts, Patient Participation