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Open Access Open Badges Commentary

Know your patient: psychological drivers of decision making

Linda Emanuel

Author Affiliations

Buehler Center on Aging, Health & Society, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, 750 N. Lake Shore Drive, Suite 601, Chicago, IL, 60611, USA

Israel Journal of Health Policy Research 2012, 1:37  doi:10.1186/2045-4015-1-37

Published: 24 September 2012


This is a commentary on “Attitudes of legal guardians of ventilated ICU patients toward the process of decision making associated with invasive nonlife-saving procedures” by Michael Kuniavsky, Freda DeKeyser Ganz, David M Linton, and Sigal Sviri. Kuniavsky and colleagues report that decision-making for the seriously ill is difficult for the patients’ legal guardians, many of whom would be comfortable with doctors making the decisions. This commentary offers that accurate predictions about treatment choices may be derived by using assessments that characterize the key drivers of individual’s decision making, thus relieving some of decision makers' burdens. This approach could also usher in an era of assessing quality of care for the seriously ill by whether the care matches patient goals.