Ethical implications of the use of decision aids for antenatal counseling at the limits of gestational viability
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Shared decision-making is a recent priority in neonatology. However, its implementation is at an early stage. Decision aids are tools designed to assist in shared decision-making. They help patients competently participate in making healthcare decisions. There are limited studies in neonatology on the formal use of decision aids as used in adult medicine. Decision aids are relatively new, even in adult medicine where they were pioneered; therefore, there is a lack of systematic oversight to their development and use. Despite evidence reporting a powerful effect on patients' decisions, decision aids are not subject to quality control, leading to potentially enormous ethical implications. These include: (i) possible introduction of developers' biases; (ii) use of outdated or incorrect information; (iii) misuse to steer a patient towards less expensive treatments; (iv) clinician liability if negative patient outcomes occur, since decision aids are currently not standard of care.
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