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J Law Med Ethics. 2010 Spring;38(1):85-97. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-720X.2010.00469.x.

Aligning ethics with medical decision-making: the quest for informed patient choice.

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1
Health Law at Harvard School of Public Health, MA, USA.

Abstract

Clinical evidence suggests that many patients undergo surgery that they would decline if fully informed. Failure to communicate the relevant risks, benefits, and alternatives of a procedure violates medical ethics and wastes medical resources. Integrating shared decision-making, a method of communication between provider and patient, into medical decisions can satisfy physicians' ethical obligations and reduce unwanted procedures. This article proposes a three-step process for implementing a nationwide practice of shared decision-making: (1) create model integration programs; (2) provide legal incentives to ease the transition; and (3) incorporate shared decision-making into medical necessity determinations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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