Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Dartmouth Summer Institute for Informed Patient Choice?

The Dartmouth Summer Institute for Informed Patient Choice is held annually, under the auspices of The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice. The mission of the Institute is to further translational research and implementation of patient decision support - with a particular emphasis on the use of patient decision aids - and to foster collaboration in the field. The 2008 – 2010 Summer Institutes were supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation.

What is patient decision support / informed medical decision making?

In preference-sensitive health care situations, there is no single "best" therapeutic action that's indicated for all patients. Therefore, the goal is to help patients make an informed, preference-based choice among the several relevant therapeutic options. Patient decision support is a systematic, theory-based clinical strategy for helping individuals who wish to be involved in making these kinds of preference-sensitive choices to participate in this decision-making process.

What are Patient Decision Aids?

Patients decision aids are standardized, evidence-based tools intended to facilitate the process of decision support and to supplement rather than replace patient-practitioner interaction.
“Patient decision aids are paper-based or electronic tools that help support and streamline the medical decision-making process. Their use has been shown to improve decision quality. Because patients engaging in shared decision-making rely on the information presented in decision aids, it is vitally important that the information be valid. Quality standards ensure that the information in patient decision aids is evidence-based, balanced, and free of bias or conflict.” - Informed Medical Decisions Foundation 

How is the Institute theme decided each year?

Each year, the general strategy is for the co-directors to work with a faculty advisory committee to:
• Identify a particular key scientific theme in the field;
• Invite fundamental and applied scientists who are world leaders in the thematic area to identify the most pressing scientific opportunities in the field, and to;
• Build a curriculum that presents a balanced, high quality, collaborative experience.

In the past, attendance was by invitation only. Is this still the case?

The institute has transitioned to an open forum, fee for attendance structure. Registration is provided as space is available. Early registration is encouraged.

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