Medical Decision Making: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prognosis

Authored by: Ashley Graham Kennedy

The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Medicine

Print publication date:  October  2016
Online publication date:  October  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138846791
eBook ISBN: 9781315720739
Adobe ISBN: 9781317519850

10.4324/9781315720739.ch35

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Abstract

Medical decision making (MDM) refers to the process of clinical reasoning that is used to make estimations of, and decisions regarding, patient diagnosis and treatment. Although as we will see in this chapter, this process is often complex, it is nevertheless used throughout clinical practice from routine primary care cases to complex cases encountered in specialty clinics and emergency departments. Because all clinicians engage, either formally or informally, in the process of medical decision making, the study of this process is important both for those who practice medicine as well as for those, such as philosophers of medicine and decision analysts, who aim to understand and improve it. Thus, the goal of this chapter is to provide an introduction to medical decision making that is relevant to both medical practitioners and philosophers of medicine.

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