Interactive Decision Aid for Advance Care Planning

Period of Performance: 03/18/2010 - 02/28/2011

$425K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

NEW England Research Institutes, Inc.
Watertown, MA 02472
Principal Investigator

Abstract

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Widely publicized cases such as Terri Schiavo have raised awareness of the importance of advance care planning. However, while promoted through federal law and regulation, emphasis is placed on the completion of an advance directive (AD) document rather than on the informed decision making and communication essential to ensuring that end of life care preferences are honored. In fact, there is little evidence that having an AD alone results in improved or preferred care at the end of life. Consequently, the advance directive (or living will) as a public policy instrument has been called a failed social policy. More recently, attention has been redirected to the process of advance care planning. In response, we propose an innovative interactive decision aid to help individuals not only to make informed decisions about preferred treatment at end of life but also to communicate these preferences and decisions to their health care providers and families. The program will use video to provide visual depiction of several advance stage health states and options for end of life care treatment and to model effective communication with health care providers and family about preferences for care. Template documents for completing an AD and health care proxy will be provided for completion immediately or at a later date. The program is presented on a tablet-PC, with the capability to be web-based allowing the inclusion of these documents in an electronic medical record. No other available program offers all of these features on a portable platform to maximize and facilitate use across a range of settings The Specific Aims of Phase I were completed successfully. The Specific Aims of Phase II are to: 1) produce the final two dramatic videos regarding patient communication with family and a health care proxy;2) produce digital videos for additional health states and potential treatment options;3) finalize web design and complete programming of text screens and integration of video and audio narration;4) evaluation of the program's effectiveness;and 5) finalization and implementation of the commercialization plan. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Advance care planning is more than signing a document. It is a process. This interactive decision aide will help individuals not only make informed decisions about preferred treatment at end of life but also to communicate these preferences and decisions to their health care providers and families. The program will use video to present several advance stage health states and options for end of life care treatment and to model communication with health care providers and family about preferences for care.