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.