Treatment decision making for incapacitated patients: is development and use of a patient preference predictor feasible?

J Med Philos. 2014 Apr;39(2):130-52. doi: 10.1093/jmp/jhu006. Epub 2014 Feb 20.


It has recently been proposed to incorporate the use of a "Patient Preference Predictor" (PPP) into the process of making treatment decisions for incapacitated patients. A PPP would predict which treatment option a given incapacitated patient would most likely prefer, based on the individual's characteristics and information on what treatment preferences are correlated with these characteristics. Including a PPP in the shared decision-making process between clinicians and surrogates has the potential to better realize important ethical goals for making treatment decisions for incapacitated patients. However, developing and implementing a PPP poses significant practical challenges. The present paper discusses these practical challenges and considers ways to address them.

Keywords: advance care planning; advance directives; decisional incapacity; surrogates; treatment decision making.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Advance Directives
  • Age Factors
  • Attitude
  • Decision Making*
  • Ethics, Medical
  • Family
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Mental Competency*
  • Patient Preference*
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*