Weighing up risks and benefits

Combining the values of treatment benefits versus risks for individual patients has been tackled using approaches such as decision analysis - a process whereby the sequential choices faced by patents are made explicit.22 Patients are then invited to place their own values on the various potential gains and losses. These methods have been used extensively in areas such as amniocentesis for detecting fetal abnormalities, but less so in dermatology.23 Simplifications of a decision analysis approach such as the likelihood of being helped or harmed have been advocated by others.24

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