Abstract

BACKGROUND: Decision coaching is non-directive support delivered by a healthcare provider to help patients prepare to actively participate in making a health decision. 'Healthcare providers' are considered to be all people who are engaged in actions whose primary intent is to protect and improve health (e.g. nurses, doctors, pharmacists, social workers, health support workers such as peer health workers). Little is known about the effectiveness of decision coaching.

OBJECTIVES: To determine the effects of decision coaching (I) for people facing healthcare decisions for themselves or a family member (P) compared to (C) usual care or evidence-based intervention only, on outcomes (O) related to preparation for decision making, decisional needs and potential adverse effects.

SEARCH METHODS: We searched the Cochrane Library (Wiley), Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE (Ovid), Embase (Ovid), PsycINFO (Ovid), CINAHL (Ebsco), Nursing and Allied Health Source (ProQuest), and Web of Science from database inception to June 2021.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) where the intervention was provided to adults or children preparing to make a treatment or screening healthcare decision for themselves or a family member. Decision coaching was defined as: a) delivered individually by a healthcare provider who is trained or using a protocol; and b) providing non-directive support and preparing an adult or child to participate in a healthcare decision. Comparisons included usual care or an alternate intervention. There were no language restrictions.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two authors independently screened citations, assessed risk of bias, and extracted data on characteristics of the intervention(s) and outcomes. Any disagreements were resolved by discussion to reach consensus. We used the standardised mean difference (SMD) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) as the measures of treatment effect and, where possible, synthesised results using a random-effects model. If more than one study measured the same outcome using different tools, we used a random-effects model to calculate the standardised mean difference (SMD) and 95% CI. We presented outcomes in summary of findings tables and applied GRADE methods to rate the certainty of the evidence.

MAIN RESULTS: Out of 12,984 citations screened, we included 28 studies of decision coaching interventions alone or in combination with evidence-based information, involving 5509 adult participants (aged 18 to 85 years; 64% female, 52% white, 33% African-American/Black; 68% post-secondary education). The studies evaluated decision coaching used for a range of healthcare decisions (e.g. treatment decisions for cancer, menopause, mental illness, advancing kidney disease; screening decisions for cancer, genetic testing). Four of the 28 studies included three comparator arms. For decision coaching compared with usual care (n = 4 studies), we are uncertain if decision coaching compared with usual care improves any outcomes (i.e. preparation for decision making, decision self-confidence, knowledge, decision regret, anxiety) as the certainty of the evidence was very low. For decision coaching compared with evidence-based information only (n = 4 studies), there is low certainty-evidence that participants exposed to decision coaching may have little or no change in knowledge (SMD -0.23, 95% CI: -0.50 to 0.04; 3 studies, 406 participants). There is low certainty-evidence that participants exposed to decision coaching may have little or no change in anxiety, compared with evidence-based information. We are uncertain if decision coaching compared with evidence-based information improves other outcomes (i.e. decision self-confidence, feeling uninformed) as the certainty of the evidence was very low. For decision coaching plus evidence-based information compared with usual care (n = 17 studies), there is low certainty-evidence that participants may have improved knowledge (SMD 9.3, 95% CI: 6.6 to 12.1; 5 studies, 1073 participants). We are uncertain if decision coaching plus evidence-based information compared with usual care improves other outcomes (i.e. preparation for decision making, decision self-confidence, feeling uninformed, unclear values, feeling unsupported, decision regret, anxiety) as the certainty of the evidence was very low. For decision coaching plus evidence-based information compared with evidence-based information only (n = 7 studies), we are uncertain if decision coaching plus evidence-based information compared with evidence-based information only improves any outcomes (i.e. feeling uninformed, unclear values, feeling unsupported, knowledge, anxiety) as the certainty of the evidence was very low.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: Decision coaching may improve participants' knowledge when used with evidence-based information. Our findings do not indicate any significant adverse effects (e.g. decision regret, anxiety) with the use of decision coaching. It is not possible to establish strong conclusions for other outcomes. It is unclear if decision coaching always needs to be paired with evidence-informed information. Further research is needed to establish the effectiveness of decision coaching for a broader range of outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCochrane database of systematic reviews (Online)
Volume11
Pages (from-to)CD013385
ISSN1469-493X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 08.11.2021

Research Areas and Centers

  • Research Area: Center for Population Medicine and Public Health (ZBV)

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Decision coaching for people making healthcare decisions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this