Algorithms and decision aids have been used by health professionals for many years to promote better clinical care. Long before practice guidelines were issued by panels of experts and national committees, clinicians developed and shared personalized notecards —some so esteemed that they evolved into publications such as the Washington Manual or the Harriet Lane Handbook. Busy clinicians appreciate these personalized notecards, or “pocket cards,” for their portability and simplicity, and there is empirical evidence that they are preferred over other educational modalities such as handouts, seminars, workshops, or online tutorials.
The ethics consultation service at Penn State MSHMC developed ethics pocket cards to summarize—in a clear and accessible manner—core knowledge about clinical ethics.
We have thus far created ethics pocket cards addressing seven topics:
- Advance care planning
- Assessing decision-making capacity
- Advance directives and surrogate decision-making algorithm
- State law related to surrogate decision-making
- Informed consent
- Medical futility
- Overview of the clinical ethics consultation service.
We hope that these cards will be helpful not only to individual health professionals, but also to institutions who may wish to develop similar materials for their own use. We welcome thoughts, feedback, and opportunities for collaboration.