Patient decision aids (PDAs) are documents that attempt to support patient participation in biomedical decision making by discussing information and options. Scholars have called for further elaboration and application of communication theory relating to the construction and uses of PDAs. This article analyzes gateway documents, a genre of PDAs that includes texts from noncommercial websites returned during an initial inquiry for decision-making information. Problematic integration theory informs and extends a meaning of balance in a sample of four PDAs for prenatal genetic testing. The study addresses several communication opportunities, including discussions of benefits, disadvantages, providers’ scientific knowledge, and patients’ embodied knowledge. The PDA authors’ emphases on statistical risk without more inclusive considerations of embodied knowledge highlight a conclusion that the documents in the sample are imbalanced. This research serves to introduce a theoretical communication context for analysis of PDAs that may assist scholars in further contributions to the interdisciplinary field of biomedical communication.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health(social science)