JOURNAL ARTICLE

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

Benjamin Moulton, Jaime S King
Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics: a Journal of the American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics 2010, 38 (1): 85-97
20446987
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.

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