“The Patient Decision Aid as a Pedagogical Tool: Exigencies between RHM and the Health Professions”

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Maria Novotny
Dawn Opel
William Hart-Davidson


This past decade, the healthcare industry has undergone a transformation with where, how, and why writing happens. For example, what the health and medical professions conceive of as “documentation” or “charting” is writing, even though practitioners call it by another name. Additionally, most writing in healthcare settings is now also multimodal, incorporating textual, digital, visual, and aural content. This essay focuses on the patient decision aid as pedagogical tool that embraces the technological and multimodal changes in health and medicine. Patient decision aids can be understood as a multimodal tool guiding shared decision-making practices. As a genre, the decision aid prompts students to engage in a series of writing modalities – visuals, narrative, texts – as well as the application of user experience and design. Finally, the decision aid as an assignment offers explicit connections between humanities-based students and broader healthcare industries.

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