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‘First ensure no regret’: a decision-theoretic approach to informed consent in clinical practice
  1. Narcyz Ghinea
  1. Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Narcyz Ghinea, Department of Philosophy, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales 2109, Australia; narcyz.ghinea{at}


Decision theorists recognise that information is valuable only insofar as it has the potential to change a decision. This means that since acquiring more information is time-consuming and sometimes expensive, judgements need to be made about what information is most valuable to acquire, and whether it is worth acquiring at all. In this article I apply this idea to informed consent and argue that the most valuable information relates not to what the best treatment option may be but to possible futures a patient may regret. I conclude by proposing a regret-minimisation framework for informed consent that I contend better captures the true nature of shared decision making than existing formulations.

  • Informed Consent
  • Ethics
  • Quality of Health Care

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  • Contributors NG conceived, conceptualised and wrote this article.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.