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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Decision Support?

Decision Support is a way to help you make decisions that are important to you, taking into consideration your values and personal preference. You can use HealthPartners Decision Support tools and resources independently, with some assistance or with complete coaching – the choice is yours.

How does Decision Support help me?

Many decisions do not have clear answers or a single “right” answer. Decision Support helps you to arrive at an informed decision that respects your own preferences and values. You are not steered toward any particular decision. Instead, you get the help you need to make a choice that’s right for you.

If you are having a hard time choosing one option over another, Decision Support can help you resolve the conflicts. It also gives you the tools to talk with your family and friends about your decisions, especially if there is disagreement about the best path to take.

Research shows that people who use Decision Support are more satisfied with their decisions and their care experience.

What are examples of when Decision Support could be used?

Decision Support can be used for any decision when two or more options are available, like:

  • Should I have back surgery or physical therapy for lower back pain?
  • Do I have weight loss surgery or lose weight by making diet and exercise changes?
  • Do I continue working while I have chemotherapy?
  • Should I arrange home care or facility care for a parent with dementia?

Who is decision support helpful for?

Decision Support can help anyone facing a health or social choice with an unclear "best" option or pros and cons that people value differently. It is especially helpful for patients facing decisions about newly diagnosed conditions, patients with chronic diseases and patients and families facing end-of-life decisions.

How much does Decision Support cost me?

Decision Support is available to you at no additional cost as part of your HealthPartners plan.

Doesn’t a good doctor already do this? Why is a special process needed?

Health care providers don’t always know what your values and personal preferences are. Decision Support ensures that you and your doctor have the information you need to choose an option that reflects your values.

What is the basis for HealthPartners approach to Decision Support?

HealthPartners offers Decision Support tools and resources based on the Ottawa Personal Decision Guide, which is developed by the Ottawa Health Research Institute.

The Ottawa Personal Decision Guide helps you through five steps:

  • Clarify the decision and your options
  • Identify your values
  • Recognize influences
  • Understand your decision-making needs
  • Plan your next steps

What constitutes a "good" patient decision?

At HealthPartners we believe a good patient decision is:

  • Informed
  • Supported by the best available evidence
  • Compatible with the patient’s values
  • Made in consideration of the patient preferences
  • Made after consideration of pros and cons
  • Practical
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