International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care


Decision aid for women considering breast cancer screening

Iris Pasternacka1, Ulla Saalasti-Koskinena1 and Marjukka Mäkeläa1

a1 FINOHTA (Finnish Office for Health Technology Assessment), at THL (National Institute for Health and Welfare)


Objectives: The aim of this study was to describe the process and challenges of developing a decision aid for the national public breast cancer screening program in Finland.

Methods: An expert team with stakeholder representation used European guidelines and other literature as basis for selecting relevant content and format for the decision aid for breast cancer screening. Feedback from women was sought for the draft documents.

Results: A decision aid attached to the invitation letter for screening was considered the best way to ensure access to information. In addition, tailored letter templates for all phases of the screening program, a poster, and a public website were developed. Initial feedback from users (women, professionals, and service providers), was mainly positive. Six months after publishing, the implementation of the decision aid was still incomplete.

Conclusions: Providing balanced information for women invited to breast cancer screening is demanding and requires careful planning. Professionals and service providers need to be engaged in the HTA process to ensure proper dissemination and implementation of the information. End user participation is essential in the formulation of information. There is a need to follow up the implementation of the decision aid.

(Online publication October 04 2011)