Patient Empowerment Use of Video Video Content

Advance Care Planning (ACP) & Video

This weekend I read a great article in The Atlantic about a non-profit organization, ACP Decisions, made up of a group of clinicians who seek to empower patients and families with video support tools. The article dates back to April 2013, but somehow I had missed it until my friend, Lisa Fields, forwarded a link to the piece. Lisa knew I would be interested because these physicians are using video for patient and family education and have evidence to show that their approach is working. (So much of my firm’s work today involves using video to inform patients, family members and physicians.)

I’ve been interested in advance care planning and issues of aging ever since I read My Mother, Your Mother by Dennis McCullough, MD. With parents in their mid-eighties, the book really struck a cord and, of course, led to a blog post.

Screen Shot 2014-01-20 at 10.43.20 AMAt the heart of ACP Decisions ( is a series of short, easy-to-understand, evidence-based educational videos for patients and family members. Videos are vetted by national experts in fields such as geriatrics, oncology and cardiology.  They also consult with experts in ethics. These videos are designed to help patient understand their options for medical care near the end of life. Importantly, they promote shared decision-making. Hope to lead to meaningful conversations between patients and their physicians. The objective is to allow patients to make informed decisions that are consistent with their values and goals.

ACP Decisions’ videos have been field-tested at more than 40 health systems across the U.S., including Kaiser Permanente, the Hawaii Medical Service Association, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. The videos are carefully crafted after undergoing rigorous review by leading experts in medicine, geriatrics, oncology, cardiology, ethics, and decision-making. The videos are filmed and produced by a team led by Dr. Volandes and Aretha Delight Davis, MD, JD, along with colleagues from around the country.

ACP Decisions’ scope of research, published in 50 peer reviewed articles, show that the video decision aids:

  • Improve patient-centered care by overcoming communication barriers between patients and providers to give patients and their families a more realistic, clear picture of their medical choices;
  • Provide a comfortable learning experience, with 97% of patients reporting that they found the videos to be helpful and would recommend them to other patients;
  • Lead to more informed and stable choices, as patients who view the videos are more knowledgeable about their treatment options, more likely to have stable preferences for their end-of-life treatment over time, and less likely to choose aggressive care.

These clinicians at ACP Decisions are doing remarkable work. I definitely invite you to check them out: Here’s a link to an article about ACP Decisions that appeared in the Chicago Tribune: “Videos illuminate realities of end-stage procedures.”

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