Autonomy-based criticisms of the patient preference predictor

Journal of Medical Ethics 48 (5):304-310 (2022)
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Abstract

The patient preference predictor is a proposed computer-based algorithm that would predict the treatment preferences of decisionally incapacitated patients. Incorporation of a PPP into the decision-making process has the potential to improve implementation of the substituted judgement standard by providing more accurate predictions of patients’ treatment preferences than reliance on surrogates alone. Yet, critics argue that methods for making treatment decisions for incapacitated patients should be judged on a number of factors beyond simply providing them with the treatments they would have chosen for themselves. These factors include the extent to which the decision-making process recognises patients’ freedom to choose and relies on evidence the patient themselves would take into account when making treatment decisions. These critics conclude that use of a PPP should be rejected on the grounds that it is inconsistent with these factors, especially as they relate to proper respect for patient autonomy. In this paper, we review and evaluate these criticisms. We argue that they do not provide reason to reject use of a PPP, thus supporting efforts to develop a full-scale PPP and to evaluate it in practice. There are no data in this work.

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