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J Med Philos. 2014 Apr;39(2):130-52. doi: 10.1093/jmp/jhu006. Epub 2014 Feb 20.

Treatment decision making for incapacitated patients: is development and use of a patient preference predictor feasible?

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  • 1*Department of Social Science, Health & Medicine, King's College London, Strand, London WC2R 2LS, UK.


It has recently been proposed to incorporate the use of a "Patient Preference Predictor" (PPP) into the process of making treatment decisions for incapacitated patients. A PPP would predict which treatment option a given incapacitated patient would most likely prefer, based on the individual's characteristics and information on what treatment preferences are correlated with these characteristics. Including a PPP in the shared decision-making process between clinicians and surrogates has the potential to better realize important ethical goals for making treatment decisions for incapacitated patients. However, developing and implementing a PPP poses significant practical challenges. The present paper discusses these practical challenges and considers ways to address them.


advance care planning; advance directives; decisional incapacity; surrogates; treatment decision making

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