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01.12.2018 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 1/2018

A pre-post study testing a lung cancer screening decision aid in primary care

BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making > Ausgabe 1/2018
Daniel S. Reuland, Laura Cubillos, Alison T. Brenner, Russell P. Harris, Bailey Minish, Michael P. Pignone



The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued recommendations for older, heavy lifetime smokers to complete annual low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) scans of the chest as screening for lung cancer. The USPSTF recommends and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services require shared decision making using a decision aid for lung cancer screening with annual LDCT. Little is known about how decision aids affect screening knowledge, preferences, and behavior. Thus, we tested a lung cancer screening decision aid video in screening-eligible primary care patients.


We conducted a single-group study with surveys before and after decision aid viewing and medical record review at 3 months. Participants were active patients of a large US academic primary care practice who were current or former smokers, ages 55–80 years, and eligible for screening based on current screening guidelines. Outcomes assessed pre-post decision aid viewing were screening-related knowledge score (9 items about screening-related harms of false positives and overdiagnosis, likelihood of benefit; score range = 0–9) and preference (preferred screening vs. not). Screening behavior measures, assessed via chart review, included provider visits, screening discussion, LDCT ordering, and LDCT completion within 3 months.


Among 50 participants, knowledge increased from pre- to post-decision aid viewing (mean = 2.6 vs. 5.5, difference = 2.8; 95% CI 2.1, 3.6, p < 0.001). Preferences across the overall sample remained similar such that 54% preferred screening at baseline and 50% after viewing; however, 28% of participants changed their preference (to or away from screening) from baseline to after viewing. We assessed screening behavior for 36 participants who had a primary care visit during the 3-month period following enrollment. Eighteen of 36 preferred screening after decision aid viewing. Of these 18, 10 discussed screening, 8 had a test ordered, and 6 completed LDCT. Among the 18 who preferred no screening, 7 discussed screening, 5 had a test ordered, and 4 completed LDCT.


In primary care patients, a lung cancer screening decision aid improved knowledge regarding screening-related benefits and harms. Screening preferences and behavior were heterogeneous.

Trial registration

This study is registered at www.​clinicaltrials.​gov. NCT03077230 (registered retrospectively,November 22, 2016).
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