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

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Maria Novotny
William F. Hart-Davidson
Dawn S. Opel


This article focuses on the patient’s decision aid as a pedagogical tool that embraces the technological and multimodal changes in health and medicine. Novotny, Hart-Davidson & Opel make the case that patient decision aids can be understood as a multimodal tool which guides shared decision-making practices. Within a classroom setting, and in thinking of a decision aid as a genre, this tool prompts students to engage in a series of writing modalities as well as the application of user experience and design. This model also helps students learn about the importance of health literacy, how public health information is communicated as well as trusted, and the intersecting impact of public health policy on marginalized communities. To demonstrate this point, this article shares examples of student-created decision aids, particularly in the context of COVID-19. Novotny, Hart-Davidson & Opel’s article works to make transparent connections in writing and rhetoric classrooms, offering the decision aid as an assignment that links humanities-based students with broader healthcare industries.

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