Introduction Patients desire an active role in health care decisions. We evaluated whether a patient decision making aid is useful when considering surgical treatment for urolithiasis. Methods Patients with a history of urolithiasis were recruited for study. They were asked to consider a hypothetical case of an asymptomatic 10 mm proximal ureteral stone for which elective surgical intervention was recommended. Shock wave lithotripsy and ureteroscopy were presented as potential options. A patient decision making aid was developed to explain and compare the options. A urologist presented the information to the patients, once using the patient decision making aid and then without the aid. We assessed participant satisfaction with each format, and invited comments about the aid and its content, design and clarity. Results Mean ± SD age of the 4 male and 10 female participants was 61 ± 9 years. Of the participants 86% found the patient decision making aid helpful but identified areas for improvement. Specifically, patients wanted more information on stent placement, stent discomfort, long-term effects and cost. Of the participants 79% reported that the aid improved their understanding of the treatment options compared to the session without the aid. While 8 of 14 participants preferred hearing surgeon recommendations, most still reported value in the patient decision making aid. Conclusions Patient decision making aids are increasingly used in the management of several diseases and they require patient input into development. In our study the aid improved patient self-reported understanding of surgical options for ureteral stone removal. Notably, most participants still preferred to make decisions based on the surgeon recommendation. Modification of the patient decision making aid based on patient suggestions will enhance its usefulness and applicability in the clinical setting.
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