Manipulation and Free Will in Shared Decision Making

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In recent years, there has been an increased focus on patient involvement in treatment planning in the health care system. To reduce the risk of the clinician moving towards paternalism, various methods have been introduced-shared decision making, among others. The goal of shared decision making is for the clinician and patient to share available evidence on the best treatment and to raise awareness on the needs and preferences of the patient as to make a genuinely informed choice. However, in the present article, we discuss to which degree paternalism can be avoided in light of the clinician's role as an authority with certain knowledge and expertise. Through the philosophical theory of reasons-responsiveness, we discuss to which extend free will and control applies to the patient. Through theoretical analysis, we come to suggest that the clinician has a role as an ally rather than manipulator.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)403-408
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


  • health care
  • health services research
  • humanity
  • patient-centred care
  • philosophy of medicine

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