Examples of Decision Laboratory studies

The Decision Laboratory group develops and evaluates a range of decision support interventions on a not-for-profit basis. For further information of the decision support interventions currently being developed by the Decision Laboratory group, select the relevant study. 


AmnioDex is a decision support intervention designed for women faced with the decision of whether to undergo amniocentesis.

From theories to interventions: the conceptualisation and development of complex interventions for supporting behaviour change.


BresDex is an interactive patient decision support intervention focusing on surgical treatment choices for women newly diagnosed with early stage breast cancer.


Examining the relationship between decision support interventions and outcome measurements: applying the IPDAS instrument to the results of the Cochrane Systematic Review of patient decision aids.


Quitex is an online interactive decision support intervention for smokers to consider methods and options regarding cessations, with decision support and follow-up.

Quitex logo


The MAGIC (Making Good Decisions in Collaboration) programme aims to design and test interventions to encourage the use of shared decision making in clinical practice.


myHeartRisk is a web-site that assesses risk of developing heart disease in the future, by using information about health status and lifestyle.


OvDex will be a decision support intervention designed for women at familial risk of ovarian / breast cancer considering risk-reducing bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy to reduce their cancer risk.

OvDex study logo

ProsDex is an interactive decision
support intervention designed for men considering the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test for detecting prostate cancer.

Option Grids: easy to use shared decision making tools for disadvantaged groups.

A list of decision support interventions developed by other organisations can be found at: www.Med-Decs.org

The Med-Decs database contains a comprehensive multilingual set of decision aids to help patients make medical treatment choices. 

Stephanie Smits awarded place at the 2013 Women of the World (WOW) Festival

Mar 2013

Stephanie Smits, PhD student at the Cochrane Institute of Primary Care and Public Health has been awarded one of 25 places at the 2013 Women of the World (WOW) Festival, being held in London on Saturday 9th March. Cardiff University has partnered with London’s Southbank Centre to offer the places. Applicants were asked to share stories of what it means to be ‘Living in a World of Digital – Past, Present or Future.’ Stephanie will get the opportunity to be involved in discussions about ‘women and digital technology’ and to learn about women’s achievements across the world.

Screening decisions are better informed when risk information is personalised

Feb 2013

A new Cochrane systematic review by Prof Adrian Edwards and colleagues is published. Patients’ ability to make genuinely informed choices about undergoing disease screening increases when the risk information that they receive is related to their own personal risk, rather than average risks, according to the results of a Cochrane systematic review. 

Award success for Jana Witt

Nov 2012

Congratulations to Jana Witt who has scored a double whammy by winning an Innovation & Engagement award for excellence in public engagement, together with a Tenovus Innovation grant to further develop her web-based decision support tool.

ICBP study published in the British Journal of Cancer

Jan 2013

Dr Kate Brain and colleagues at the School of Medicine provide the Welsh data for the International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership (ICBP). The international study,published in the British Journal of Cancer, is the largest of its kind, and suggests that cultural factors such as the British ‘stiff upper lip’ may help explain some of the differences in cancer survival rates between the UK and other high-income countries. 

Decision Lab at Cardiff’s Postgraduate Research Day

Nov 2012

PhD students in Decision Lab were very well represented at Cardiff University’sSchool of Medicine Postgraduate Research Day, with prizes won by Stephanie Smits(Students’ Choice poster) and Jana Witt (2nd prize for Oral Presentation).

Congratulations to Glyn and Elissa

Sep 2012

Many congratulations and warm wishes to Glyn and Elissa on their recent wedding, from all the Decision Laboratory team at Cardiff.

Decision Laboratory team at EMPAG

June 2012

Five members of the Decision Lab (Kate Brain, Kate Lifford, Marion McAllister,Hannah Siphman and Jana Witt) attended the European Meeting of Psychosocial Aspects of Genetics (EMPAG) in Nürnberg, Germany this month and gave four oral and one poster presentation regarding informed consent issues, evaluation of genetic counselling as well as coping and decision making in hereditary cancer. 

Patients’ preferences matter: Stop the silent misdiagnosis

May 2012

A new King’s Fund report authored by Al Mulley, Chris Trimble and Glyn Elwyn asks if we are wasting out money on care that patients don’t want?

Patients fear being labelled as ‘difficult’

May 2012

Patients have a strong desire to engage in shared decision making with their physicians but this wish is often stymied by “authoritarian” doctors or patients’ fears of being perceived as “difficult,” according to a study by the Palo Alto (Calif.) Medical Foundation Research Institute published by Health Affairs.

Authoritarian physicians and patients’ fear of being labeled ‘difficult’ among key obstacles to shared decision making. Frosch DL, May SG, Rendle KA, Tietbohl C, Elwyn G. Health Aff (Millwood). 2012 May;31(5):1030-8.

Glyn Elwyn secondment at Dartmouth

February 2012

The Decision Laboratory team wish Glyn Elwyn all the best as he starts a secondment at the Dartmouth Centre for Health Delivery Science in March. Dr Kate Brain will join Prof Adrian Edwards in leading the Decision Laboratory meetings and work during Glyn’s time at Dartmouth.

Option Grids: easy to use shared decision making tools for disadvantaged groups

November 2011

Patient decision support, called ‘shared decision making’, helps patients become active partners in making decisions about their health care and the self-management of their condition. It is known that the use of shared decision making tools leads to better patient knowledge, better decision quality and improved participation.

The aim of this research is to provide evidence that shared decision making tools are effective in brief formats (Option Grids), and this format is effective for use by people disadvantaged by low literacy or language barriers.

For further news stories, visit the Decision Laboratory news archive


Relevant publications

Decision making and coping in healthcare: The Coping in Deliberation (CODE) framework.
Witt J, Elwyn G, Wood F, Brain K, Patient Educ Couns, Volume 88, 2 (August 2012) pp.256-261

Shared Decision Making: A Model for Clinical Practice. Elwyn G, Frosch D, Thomson R, Joseph-Williams N, Lloyd A, Kinnersley P, Cording E, Tomson D, Dodd C, Rollnick S, Edwards A, Barry M, J Gen Intern Med (May 2012)

The design of patient decision support interventions: addressing the theory-practice gap. Elwyn G, Stiel M, Durand MA, Boivin J, J Eval Clin Pract, Volume 17, 4 (August 2011) pp.565-574

How to develop web-based decision support interventions for patients: A process map. Elwyn G, Kreuwel I, Durand MA, Sivell S, Joseph-Williams N, Evans R, Edwards A, Patient Educ Couns (June 2010)

Shared decision making in health care: Achieving evidence based patient choice. Edited by Edwards A, Elwyn G. Oxford University Press, 2009.

Assessing the quality of decision support interventions using the International Patient Decision Aid Standards instrument (IPDASi). Elwyn G, O’Connor AM, Bennett C, Newcombe RG, Politi M, Durand MA, Drake E, Joseph-Williams N, Khangura S, Saarimaki A, Sivell S, Stiel M, Bernstein SJ, Col N, Coulter A, Eden K, Härter M, Rovner MH, Moumjid N, Stacey D, Thomson R, Whelan T, van der Weijden T, Edwards A. PLoS One, 2009;4(3)

Developing a quality criteria framework for patient decision aids: online international Delphi consensus process. Elwyn G, O’Connor A, Stacey D, Volk R, Edwards A, Coulter A, IPDAS Collaboration. BMJ 2006;333:417

International Patient Decision Aid Standards Collaboration (IPDAS) Criteria Checklist (231KB pdf)Elwyn G, O’Connor A, Stacey D, Volk R, Edwards A, Coulter A, Thomson R, Barratt A, Barry M, Bernstein S, Butow P, Clarke A, Entwistle V, Feldman-Stewart, D, Holmes-Rovner M, Llewellyn-Thomas H, Moumjid N, Mulley A, Ruland C, Sepucha K, Sykes A, Whelan T.


Decision support interventions for patients

The ‘Decision Laboratory’ group develops and evaluates decision support interventions on a not-for-profit basis.


What are decision support interventions?
The concept of participation in decision making is also known as ‘shared decision making‘ and incorporates the field of ‘risk communication’. We develop web based decision support interventions to enable exploration of relevant harms and benefits. Both Glyn Elwyn, Adrian Edwards and Kate Brain have publications in this field.


International Patient Decision Aids Standards Collaboration



IPDAS is a group of researchers, practitioners and stakeholders from around the world. The IPDAS collaboration is led by Professors Annette O’Connor in Canada and Glyn Elwyn in the United Kingdom. We have developed an instrument named IPDASi to assess the quality of patient decision support interventions. See http//www.ipdasi.org/


Email: DecisionLaboratory@Cardiff.ac.uk


Decision Laboratory

Institute of Primary Care & Public Health

Cardiff University

2nd Floor, Neuadd Meirionnydd

Heath Park


CF14 4YS



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