Our Grants

The Ethical Acceptability of Deception in Physician-Patient Communication

Scott Halpern, MD
University of Pennsylvania
Grant Type Making a Difference
Grant Cycle spring 2016
Duration 2 Years
Amount $115,927

Medical decision-making requires physicians and patients to use information about future outcomes to make choices. Physicians may use deception with the goal of protecting patients from emotional distress, although ethicists argue that this threatens patient autonomy and conflicts with physicians’ duty of truthfulness. This project will compare patients’, surrogate decision makers’, and physicians’ evaluations of deception by physicians, describe their desires to communicate using deception, and identify characteristics that are associated with their views of deception. The findings will directly respond to the bioethical debate using empirical data and will be used to improve patient-physician communication.