Ethical information transparency and sexually transmitted infections

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© 2015 Bentham Science Publishers. Shared decision making is intended to help protect patient autonomy while satisfying the demands of beneficence. In shared decision making, information is shared between health care professional and patient. The sharing of information presents new and practical problems about how much information to share and how transparent that information should be. Sharing information also allows for subtle paternalistic strategies to be employed to “nudge” the patient in a desired direction. These problems are illustrated in two experiments. Experiment 1 (N = 146) suggested that positively framed messages increased the strength of judgments about whether a patient with HIV should designate a surrogate compared to a negatively framed message. A simple decision aid did not reliably reduce this effect. Experiment 2 (N = 492) replicated these effects. In addition, Experiment 2 suggested that providing some additional information (e.g., about surrogate decision making accuracy) can reduce tendencies to think that one with AIDS should designate a surrogate. These results indicate that in some circumstances, nudges (e.g., framing) influence judgments in ways that non-nudging interventions (e.g., simple graphs) do not. While non-nudging interventions are generally preferable, careful thought is required for determining the relative benefits and costs associated with information transparency and persuasion.

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Current HIV Research