Values-based practice is at its most effective when used in conjunction with other tools in the increasingly well-resourced values toolkit for health care decision-making.
Some of these other tools are well recognized: ethics and health economics for example. Others, like evidence-based medicine, though less obvious, are no less important as partners to values-based practice.
This section of the Reading Guide covers
- Some of the Other Tools in the Values Toolkit
- Links between Other Tools and Values-based Practice
It concludes with a cautionary note about The Values Alphabet
What the toolkit is and what it is not
Like any metaphor the Values Toolkit is at risk of miscommunication through over-extension. The analogy aims to capture the idea that when it comes to working with complex and conflicting values in health and social care, there is no one single all-purpose sufficient approach. What is needed is rather a range of different approaches each with its particular strengths and limitations. But the toolkit is not to be understood mechanically, ie as a device that can just be cranked up by expert operators to churn out answers. Even the rules of medical law and ethics require interpretation in individual cases.
The philosopher Tim Thornton has argued that judgment, individual judgment, is irreducible in all areas of clinical decision-making as are the skills and experience required to support it. The requirement for interpretation is clear too in evidence-based medicine (see, in Links between Other Tools and Values-based Practice, statements in NICE Guidelines about the necessary exercise of clinical judgment; also David Sackett’s original definition of evidence-based medicine as including experience and values – see Missing Links with Evidence in Links between Other Tools and Values-based Practice).
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As with other sections of the Reading Guide we welcome your comments, ideas and suggestions. We particularly welcome additional readings and/or links for Some of the Other Tools in the Values Toolkit.
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