The consideration of patients' values and preferences during the formulation of clinical recommendations requires that guideline developers have an understanding of how patients and other stakeholders weigh the potential desirable and undesirable effects of any given intervention against one another. This consideration of the Relative Importance of Outcomes (RIO) is crucial for developing clinical recommendations that are most relevant to the providers and patients who will be using them. But how can we ensure that guideline developers have a thorough understanding of these considerations when going from evidence to decisions?
In a new paper to be published in the July issue of Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, Zhang and colleagues developed and tested a standardized summary of findings table that presents the RIO evidence on a given clinical decision in order to better inform the development of recommendations while keeping the data on patients' values and preferences top-of-mind.
|Figure 1 of the paper provides the route map of the table's user testing process|
The methods included four rounds of user testing comprising semi-structured interviews with clinical researchers and guideline developers. Guided by Morville's Honeycomb Model, the authors aimed to assess the usability, credibility, usefulness, desirability, findability, and value of the table while addressing identified issues. Overall, 20 individuals participated, 19 of whom had experience in guideline development and all of whom had experience with Summary of Findings tables.
In terms of the table's usability, problems interpreting and understanding the health utility were present; the introduction of a visual analogue scale (VAS) improved this. The combination of quantitative and qualitative evidence when considering RIOs, in addition to the presentation of the variability surrounding given estimates, were other sources of confusion. However, the participants generally found the table useful, valuable, and easy to navigate.
Zhang, Y, Li, S-A, Yepes-Nuñez, J.J., Morgan, R.L., Pardo-Hernandez, H., Alonso Coello, P., Ren, M., ... & Schünemann, H.J. (2022). GRADE summary of findings tables enhanced understanding of values and preferences evidence. J Clin Epidemiol 147: 60-68. Manuscript available at the publisher's website here.