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01.12.2018 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 1/2018

Are publicly available internet resources enabling women to make informed fertility preservation decisions before starting cancer treatment: an environmental scan?

BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making > Ausgabe 1/2018
N. Mahmoodi, H. L. Bekker, N. V. King, J. Hughes, G. L. Jones, on behalf of the Cancer, Fertility and Me research team
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s12911-018-0698-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



To identify publicly available internet resources and assess their likelihood to support women making informed decisions about, and between, fertility preservation procedures before starting their cancer treatment.


A survey of publically available internet resources utilising an environmental scan method. Inclusion criteria were applied to hits from searches of three data sources (November 2015; repeated June 2017): Google (Chrome) for patient resources; repositories for clinical guidelines and projects; distribution email lists to contact patient decision aid experts. The Data Extraction Sheet applied to eligible resources elicited: resource characteristics; informed and shared decision making components; engagement health services.


Four thousand eight hundred fifty one records were identified; 24 patient resources and 0 clinical guidelines met scan inclusion criteria. Most resources aimed to inform women with cancer about fertility preservation procedures and infertility treatment options, but not decision making between options. There was a lack of consistency about how health conditions, decision problems and treatment options were described, and resources were difficult to understand.


Unless developed as part of a patient decision aid project, resources did not include components to support proactively women’s fertility preservation decisions. Current guidelines help people deliver information relevant to treatment options within a single disease pathway; we identified five additional components for patient decision aid checklists to support more effectively people’s treatment decision making across health pathways, linking current with future health problems.
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