Patient autonomy and choice in healthcare: self-testing devices as a case in point

Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 15 (4):383-395 (2012)
  Copy   BIBTEX


This paper aims to critique the phenomenon of advanced patient autonomy and choice in healthcare within the specific context of self-testing devices. A growing number of self-testing medical devices are currently available for home use. The premise underpinning many of these devices is that they assist individuals to be more autonomous in the assessment and management of their health. Increased patient autonomy is assumed to be a good thing. We take issue with this assumption and argue that self-testing provides a specific example how increased patient autonomy and choice within healthcare might not best serve the patient population. We propose that current interpretations of autonomy in healthcare are based on negative accounts of liberty to the detriment of a more relational understanding. We also propose that Kantian philosophy is often applied to the healthcare arena in an inappropriate manner. We draw on the philosophical literature and examples from the self-testing process to support these claims. We conclude by offering an alternative account of autonomy based on the interrelated concepts of relationality, care and responsibility



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,102

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

The relative importance of undesirable truths.Lisa Bortolotti - 2012 - Medicine Healthcare and Philosophy (4):683-690.
Shared decision-making and patient autonomy.Lars Sandman & Christian Munthe - 2009 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 30 (4):289-310.
Patient autonomy in emergency medicine.Anne-Cathrine Naess, Reidun Foerde & Petter Andreas Steen - 2001 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 4 (1):71-77.
In defense of paternalism.Erich H. Loewy - 2005 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 26 (6):445-468.
Prenatal Testing, Reproductive Autonomy, and Disability Interests.Rosamund Scott - 2005 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 14 (1):65-82.
Autonomy and freedom of choice in prenatal genetic diagnosis.Elisabeth Hildt - 2002 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 5 (1):65-72.
Autonomy and futility.William H. Bruening - 1992 - HEC Forum 4 (5):305-313.
The family covenant and genetic testing.David J. Doukas & Jessica W. Berg - 2001 - American Journal of Bioethics 1 (3):2 – 10.


Added to PP

63 (#237,467)

6 months
4 (#404,301)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

References found in this work

Principles of biomedical ethics.Tom L. Beauchamp - 1979 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by James F. Childress.
Groundwork for the metaphysics of morals.Immanuel Kant - 1785 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Thomas E. Hill & Arnulf Zweig.
The Right and the Good. Some Problems in Ethics.W. D. Ross - 1930 - Oxford: Clarendon Press. Edited by Philip Stratton-Lake.
The Theory and Practice of Autonomy.Gerald Dworkin - 1988 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Autonomy and Trust in Bioethics.Onora O'Neill - 2002 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

View all 49 references / Add more references