Scholar’s Website Prepares Patients to Make Complex Medical Decisions

Feb 11, 2013, 10:30 AM

Following a study that found serious gaps in advance care planning for decisions about serious illness, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Physician Faculty Scholar Rebecca L. Sudore, MD, has launched an online resource to help patients prepare to make complex medical decisions. Sudore, who led the study, saw a need for an easy-to-use tool , beyond an advance directive form, that could help prepare patients to identify what is important to them in life, communicate their wishes with others, and make informed medical decisions. is a free, easy-to-use online resource that guides patients through all the steps of advance care planning, and incorporates content directly from Sudore’s study. It is written at a fifth-grade reading level, includes voice-overs of all text and large fonts for the visually impaired and closed captioning for the hearing impaired.

More importantly, PREPARE shows people, through videos and a step-by-step process, how to have the conversation and make informed medical decisions.

“There are few resources which can adequately prepare patients and their families to face serious illness or a medical crisis—situations which often involve complex decisions over time,” Sudore said in a news release about the site. “Advance directives are important, but they are just one piece of the puzzle. We wanted to develop an easy-to-use tool to prepare people to make medical decisions that reflect their values and needs while preparing them to effectively communicate these wishes with others.”

Rebecca Sudore, MD, is an associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and a staff physician at the San Francisco VA Medical Center.

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This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.