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. 2017 Feb;20(2):292-295.
doi: 10.1016/j.jval.2016.11.008.

Value Assessment at the Point of Care: Incorporating Patient Values Throughout Care Delivery and a Draft Taxonomy of Patient Values

Free PMC article

Value Assessment at the Point of Care: Incorporating Patient Values Throughout Care Delivery and a Draft Taxonomy of Patient Values

Melissa J Armstrong et al. Value Health. .
Free PMC article


Incorporation of patient values is a key element of patient-centered care, but consistent incorporation of patient values at the point of care is lacking. Shared decision making encourages incorporation of patient values in decision making, but associated tools often lack guidance on value assessment. In addition, focusing on patient values relating only to specific decisions misses an opportunity for a more holistic approach to value assessment that could impact other aspects of clinical encounters, including health care planning, communication, and stakeholder involvement. In this commentary, we propose a taxonomy of values underlying patient decision making and provide examples of how these impact provision of health care. The taxonomy describes four categories of patient values: global, decisional, situational, and external. Global values are personal values impacting decision making at a universal level and can include value traits and life priorities. Decisional values are the values traditionally conceptualized in decision making, including considerations such as efficacy, toxicity, quality of life, convenience, and cost. Situational values are values tied to a specific moment in time that modify patients' existing global and decisional values. Finally, discussion of external values acknowledges that many patients consider values other than their own when making decisions. Recognizing the breadth of values impacting patient decision making has implications for both overall health care delivery and shared decision making because value assessments focusing only on decisional values may miss important patient considerations. This draft taxonomy highlights different values impacting decision making and facilitates a more complete value assessment at the point of care.

Keywords: decision making; shared decision making; taxonomy; value.

Conflict of interest statement

Conflicts of interest: None


Figure 1
Figure 1. The Impact of Patient Values
Identifying patient values has implications for interactions throughout health encounters, not just at the moment when there is a specific decision to be made.
Figure 2
Figure 2. Taxonomy of Patient Values Impacting Shared Decision Making
Global values provide an over-arching context for individual decisions both within and outside the health realm. Decisional values are at the core of shared decision making, but can be modified by external and situational values.

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