NOTE TO READERS: When this project lost substantial funding at the end of 2018, I lost the ability to continue publishing criteria-driven news story reviews and PR news release reviews - once the bread-and-butter of the site going back to 2006. The 3,200 archived reviews, while still educational, are getting old and difficult for me to technically maintain on the back end of the website. So I am announcing that I plan to remove these reviews from the site by April 1, 2021. The blog and the toolkit - two of the most popular features on the site - will remain. If you wish to peruse the reviews before they disappear, please do so by the end of March 2021. After that date you may still be able to access them via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine -

New evidence about online prostate cancer screening decision aids

Posted By


Glyn Elwyn of Cardiff University, along with a team of colleagues, has a paper in the current Journal of Medical Internet Research about their attempt to examine men’s use of an online decision aid for prostate cancer screening. They conclude:

“There is evidence that Prosdex (the decision aid) promotes informed decision making in men, and we highlight factors that should inform the future design of decision aids. First, for the population using Prosdex, 20 minutes seems to be a critical time window in which we can realistically expect information to be accessed. This finding is significant as there has been a recent trend towards developing more sophisticated decision aids that take longer to use, which could be seen as over engineering. We demonstrated, however, that participants did not use the interactive features, and that the window of opportunity for information transfer to support decision making is narrow. Second, users of decision aids are not a homogenous population: there are different types of users characterized by their level of interaction with the decision aid. Therefore, developers need to design tools that sufficiently support and facilitate informed decision making among the different types of users, and should move away from designing one intervention for all.”

As one who produced some of the very early shared decision-making programs of the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making back in the ’90s, I find this interesting but not surprising. We, too, found way back then that users were often turned off by forced interactivity. And, interestingly, the first non-interactive decision aid we produced was on prostate cancer screening and it ran for 20 minutes.

You can take a look at the Prosdex decision aid here. Here’s a screen shot of the entry page:

Screen shot 2010-05-26 at 11.37.49 AM.png

You might also like


Please note, comments are no longer published through this website. All previously made comments are still archived and available for viewing through select posts.

Comments are closed.