Research & Methods

The Center’s integrated research agenda uses qualitative and quantitative methods to understand how patients and physicians make screening decisions. Focusing on clinical preventive services rated C, D, or I by the USPSTF, we conduct our own research and stimulate/collaborate with other research designed to:

•  Develop a deeper understanding of the ways clinicians, patients, policy makers, and the public think about harms and use harms information in decisions

•  Design and test innovative strategies to increase clinician-patient discussions about harms, and to increase the use of harms information in clinical decision making

•  Design and test effective ways to communicate appropriate harms information together with appropriate benefits information to improve decision making

•  Design and test innovative strategies to increase the use of harms information in policy decisions

•  Improve harms research methodology

Three primary research projects are currently in the field. In the Harms Communication Study, qualitative interviews have been conducted to determine how patients conceptualize the potential harms of preventive screening, and a randomized trial will test the effect of different presentations of potential harms on patient intent to undergo prostate cancer screening, colorectal cancer screening, or osteoporosis screening. The Physician Study aims to understand physicians’ knowledge, attitudes, and decision making about potentially harmful screening clinical preventive services, through qualitative interviews and a quantitative survey. The Elders’ Preferences in Care Decisions Study (EPIC-D) is investigating, in a randomized trial, the effect of a patient decision support intervention on colorectal cancer screening decision in older patients.