New toolkit helps patients understand immunotherapy choices

November 13, 2017

When discussing immunotherapy options with patients, the College’s new Shared Decision-Making Toolkit will help guide the conversation. The web-based tool and related resources will enable you to walk your patients through their options.

“As your patient moves through the interactive tool, they’ll find information on the risks and benefits of both subcutaneous and sublingual tablet immunotherapy – and graphs showing the differences in each,” said Michael Blaiss, MD, ACAAI Executive Medical Director. “Also included is patient friendly information on environmental controls and pharmaceutical options for treatment.”

The user will be asked about their comfort level with being treated with needles versus tablets, at home versus coming to your office, cost considerations and other issues. Patients can use the device while in your office or later on their own. If completed out of your office, they can print their results to bring to their next appointment.

There is also a video that walks you through best practices in shared decision-making, and offers tips on how to discuss treatment options and guide patients to a decision that fits their values and atitudes. In other words, how to have an informed discussion with your patient.

The toolkit also includes downloadable customizable handouts, including one that specifically discusses the tool and provides the address for easy access.

“We partnered with Allergy and Asthma Network and worked with allergy shared decision-making experts to create the toolkit,” says Dr. Blaiss. “The effort was supported by an unrestricted grant from ALK, and we hope it becomes a valuable asset for you in working with your patients in determining the best approach for management. The more you can help your patient understand their immunotherapy options and you understand the patient’s values and attitudes toward immunotherapy, the more likely everyone can come together on the best plan of treatment. Studies have shown that performing shared decision making around allergen immunotherapy improves adherence to treatment by the patient.”

Check out the immunotherapy shared decision-making toolkit in the Practice Management Center. Be sure to let us know what you think and how your patients respond!