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INTRODUCTION: High-quality shared decision-making (SDM) is a priority of health services, but only achieved in a minority of surgical consultations. Improving SDM for surgical patients may lead to more effective care and moderate the impact of treatment consequences. There is a need to establish effective ways to achieve sustained and large-scale improvements in SDM for all patients whatever their background. The ALPACA Study aims to develop, pilot and evaluate a decision support intervention that uses real-time feedback of patients' experience of SDM to change patients' and healthcare professionals' decision-making processes before adult elective surgery and to improve patient and health service outcomes. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: This protocol outlines a mixed-methods study, involving diverse stakeholders (adult patients, healthcare professionals, members of the community) and three National Health Service (NHS) trusts in England. Detailed methods for the assessment of the feasibility, usability and stakeholder views of implementing a novel system to monitor the SDM process for surgery automatically and in real time are described. The study will measure the SDM process using validated instruments (CollaboRATE, SDM-Q-9, SHARED-Q10) and will conduct semi-structured interviews and focus groups to examine (1) the feasibility of automated data collection, (2) the usability of the novel system and (3) the views of diverse stakeholders to inform the use of the system to improve SDM. Future phases of this work will complete the development and evaluation of the intervention. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethical approval was granted by the NHS Health Research Authority North West-Liverpool Central Research Ethics Committee (reference: 21/PR/0345). Approval was also granted by North Bristol NHS Trust to undertake quality improvement work (reference: Q80008) overseen by the Consent and SDM Programme Board and reporting to an Executive Assurance Committee. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ISRCTN17951423; Pre-results.

Original publication




Journal article


Bmj open

Publication Date





Decision Making, Patient Participation, Patient Reported Outcome Measures, QUALITATIVE RESEARCH, Quality in health care, SURGERY, Adult, Animals, Humans, Decision Making, Camelids, New World, State Medicine, Feedback, Patient Participation