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April 17, 1996

Patient-Centered Medicine

Author Affiliations

Arizona State University College of Law Tempe

JAMA. 1996;275(15):1156-1157. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530390022018

To the Editor.  —Readers of the article by Drs Laine and Davidoff1 may be misled as to the role of law in the development of patient-centered medicine. The article both misstates the law of informed consent and underrecognizes the importance of the doctrine.First, Laine and Davidoff write as though a "patient-oriented" standard for physician information sharing is a uniform legal norm. Under this standard, patients are entitled to such information as would be "material" to a "reasonable" patient in connection with his or her medical decision-making needs. But informed consent is a state law doctrine and is the rule in only about half the states. The other states follow a "physician-based" standard, which measures the physician's duty to disclose by the performance of a "reasonable medical practitioner" similarly situated.2 The article by Laine and Davidoff fails to mention the continuing prevalence of this physician-based standard and discusses