How Doctors' Disclosures Increase Patient Anxiety
Georgetown University - Department of Strategy/Economics/Ethics/Public Policy; Harvard University - Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics
Carnegie Mellon University - Department of Social and Decision Sciences
Daylian M. Cain
Yale School of Management
December 11, 2011
Disclosure is often advocated as a potential solution to conflicts of interest. Yet, in two experiments we show that disclosure of a doctor’s financial, or non-financial, conflict of interest has an adverse effect on the doctor-patient relationship. Disclosure puts the patient in an effective bind: it decreases trust in a doctor’s advice while simultaneously increasing discomfort to turn down the doctor’s advice due to the patients’ desire to avoid signaling distrust to their doctor. We show that the discomfort remains even when disclosure is required by law and the patient feels similar discomfort if the conflict disclosed is small or large. We also demonstrate that the discomfort is reduced if the disclosure if provided by an external source rather than directly from the advisor.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 27
Keywords: conflicts of interest, disclosure, transparency, medical, advice, ethics, regulationworking papers series
Date posted: December 13, 2011
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