MADISON — A Lake Mills physician and LatinX tech entrepreneur made available a free tool that they hope will increase COVID-19 vaccinations for people of color.

Dr. Don Bukstein, a nationally renowned allergist, and Daniel Guerra, Jr., CEO of SDM Analytics, a health technology firm, built a decision-making tool—a device used in some health clinics— with the sponsorship of the prestigious Allergy & Asthma Network (AAN), a national patient education, research and advocacy organization located in Washington, D.C.

The innovation aims at helping patients of color interact with verified COVID information, a process that may increase their vaccination rates.

“The AAN sponsorship of the SDM Analytics tool is one of the most exciting efforts I’ve seen in my 40 years in my practice,” said Bukstein of the Allergy, Asthma and Sinus Center in Madison.

Shared Decision-Making (SDM) tools are often step-by-step guides on paper completed in a clinic. The tools’ questions encourage people to take a more active role in their health care by working with their doctor to choose treatments.

Called Aids by health professionals, these tools help patients balance the risks with the benefits of getting treatment.

Research shows that the process gives patients more certainty and less anxiety about treatments, increases adherence, cuts costs, and improves health outcomes.

“African Americans, Latinos and Native American are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 with higher rates of infection, hospitalization and deaths,” Guerra said. “It’s time we create decision-making tools that build trust with diverse communities and respect patients of color with the ability to own their decisions.”

The SDM Analytics technology team created its tool in a digital format, suitable for a tablet or PC desktop that can be used in a health care office, at a patient’s home, or in another more culturally amenable setting, such as a gym or community center.

SDM Analytics named the tool Owning Your Decision as a signal to people of color that only they control the vaccination decision.

The tool features video explainers, photos of people of color, and information from Black physicians and nurses.

SDM Analytics will work on several more SDM tools in the next year.

Dr. Bukstein is triple board-certified in Allergy/Immunology, Pediatric Pulmonology and General Pediatrics and served as Clinical Professor of Pediatric and Family Practice at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. Bukstein is a national expert in the use of Shared Decision-Making and has written more than 100 articles in peer-reviewed journals.

The tool can be found at: allergyasthmanetwork.sdm.health.

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