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‘First ensure no regret’: a decision-theoretic approach to informed consent in clinical practice


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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