Public deliberation is a unique way of convening a diverse group of citizens to consider an ethical or values-based dilemma and then weigh alternative—often competing—views. AIR research, conducted as part of the AHRQ Deliberative Methods Demonstration, found that public deliberation is an effective way to gather informed public views on complex health policy issues, such as the role of medical evidence in treatment decisions. An AIR fact sheet—Public Deliberation: Bringing Common Sense to Complex Health Policy Issues—details the study’s findings.
The AIR study is among the first large-scale randomized controlled trials of alternative methods of public deliberation and included 1,338 people assigned to take part in one of four deliberative methods or to a reading-materials-only control group. Compared to the control group, public deliberation increased participants’ knowledge of medical evidence and comparative effectiveness research and shifted their attitudes about the importance of medical evidence in treatment decisions.