Ethics comes from the Greek word ethos, meaning character. Ethics, in the ancient Greece, was concerned with the development of a virtuous and moral character. The Greeks believed that developing character would lead one not only to knowing the right thing to do, but to actually do the right thing or living the proper way of life.
Ethics is defined as �the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation� or �the principles of conduct governing an individual or a group� (Merriam-Webster, 2008).
Ethics aims to systematically study and prescribe principles and methods used to distinguish well from bad, right from wrong, in other words the principles underlying the desirable types of human conduct.
Most health care organizations are governed by each institutions mission, vision and purpose. Each health care professional is governed by his or her specific professional etiquette. Healthcare is described as a social institution, a set of professions, a calling, a sacred trust, a right, or the responsibility of a caring community.(American Medical Association ,2001).In other words this particular institution is governed by a specific purpose that is to promote the general well being of the person or persons they care for. �The fundamental objective of the healthcare profession is to maintain or enhance the overall quality of life, dignity and well-being of every individual needing healthcare service and to create a more equitable, accessible, effective and efficient healthcare system�. (American College of Healthcare Executives)
Did you ever stop and think long and hard about what type of person you are? Whether you put your needs before the needs of others, or if you care for others more than you care for yourself. The word “care” can mean many things. The ethics of care is a normative ethical theory about what makes actions right or wrong. It implies that there is moral significance in the elements of relationships and ...
B. Organizational Ethics
Organizational ethics is defined by Ells, and MacDonald (2002), as �the study and practice of the ethical behavior of organizations. It involves clarifying and evaluating the values embedded in organizational policies and practices�(p 32).
For Spencer, Mills, Rorty and Werhane the goal of organizational ethics is �to produce a positive ethical climate where the organizational policies, activities, and self-evaluation mechanisms integrate patient, business, and professional perspectives in consistent and positive value creating activities that articulate, apply, and reinforce the organization�s mission.�(qtd by Ells & MacDonald 2002)
Most health care organizations strive to act ethically as they weigh the interests of the organization and of its many stakeholders. Organizations and other collective entities are different from the individual adult human beings whom we routinely hold responsible for their actions and whose actions we judge ethical and unethical. Health care provider organizations interact with a number of different groups of stakeholders, including patients and their families; health care professionals; other professional and nonprofessional employees; suppliers; regulators; insurers, risk-spreaders, and third-party payers; financial contributors; and the larger community.(Ozar, Berg, Werhane, & Emmanuel, 2000 p9-12).
B. Healthcare Ethics
Bioethics literally means �life ethics�. It is the philosophical study of the ethical controversies brought about by advances in biology and medicine. Bioethics includes additional issues that are not necessarily a part of medical ethics, like research ethics, ethical issues related to new scientific techniques such as cloning, and environmental policy. Medical Ethics on the other hand, is defined as the ethics of the physician-patient relationship, provider-patient relationship, includes all general duties a provider has to a patient, like help the patient and
There are nine private payer plans which include preferred provider organizations (PPO), health maintenance organizations (HMO), point of service (POS). Indemnity plans cost the most for employees and they usually have to choose a PPO plan. The new consumer driven health plan (CDHP) which a lot of people are picking, it has a high deductible combined with a funding option of some type. All of the ...
avoid harming him or her, duties of confidentiality as well as specific rules of conduct.
Universal Principles of Biomedical Ethics
Medical Ethics evolved from the guidelines of the Hippocratic Oath, Early rabbinic and Christian teachings. The first Code of Ethics by the American Medical Association, was based on the writings of Thomas Percival (1740-1804) of Manchester, who wrote about �medical jurisprudence� and reportedly coined the phrase �medical ethics�.
a. Autonomy �It means a form of personal liberty, where an individual is free to choose and implement one�s own decisions free from deceit, duress, constraint or coercion.
b. Beneficence- is defined as an �act of mercy and charity�. The health practitioner should act in �the best interest of the patient� or �apply measures for the benefit of the sick�. The obligation to help imposes upon health care practitioners the duty to promote the health and welfare of the patient above other considerations, while attending and honoring their personal autonomy.
c. Non-maleficence � Most health care professional pledges or codes of care echo the principle paraphrased from the Hippocratic Oath �first, do no harm”. In some way, this seems very similar to the duty of beneficence, where the practitioner works to maximize the good of the patient and minimize harm.
d. Veracity or Truthfulness and Honesty- bind both the health practitioner and the patient in association of truth. The patient must tell the truth in order that appropriate care can be provided. The practitioner needs to disclose factual information so that the patient can exercise personal autonomy.
e. Confidentiality- the American Hospital Association�s Patients Bill of Rights rules 5-6 outlines the right to privacy in Health Care.
Rule 5- The patient has the right to every consideration of his privacy concerning his own medical care program. Case discussion, consultation, examination and treatment are confidential and should be conducted discreetly. Those not directly involved n his care must have permission of the patient to be present.
Rule 6- The patient has the right to expect that all communications and records pertaining to his care should be treated as confidential. Confidentiality is an important aspect of the trust that patients place in health care professionals.
Many employees must designate a health plan through their employer. These days, as HMOs (health maintenance organizations) and managed care plans continue to proliferate, that means a choice between bad and worse. As employees line up in the lunch-room for a process called open enrollment, they may be surprised to learn that managed care rates have gone up again. The mirage that managed care is ...
f. Justice- concerns the distribution of scarce health resources, and the decision of who gets what treatment (fairness and equality).
In health care we are confronted by distribution problems that seem to provide better care to the rich than to the poor, the urban dweller over the rural, and the middle aged over the child or the elderly.
Modern health care is a team effort. No single individual can maintain the databank of information needed to provide rational care. The nature of these special ties shapes the way of the individual practitioner on how to respond to the basic questions of biomedical ethics.
Whatever the assigned role, the ethics of a health care professional should be followed faithfully within the constraints of the role. Most often the areas of acceptable practice are contained and prescribed by the scope of practice of the state legislation that enables that profession�s practice.
The increased usage of high technology, the breakthroughs in scientific research, the adoption of team medicine and easy access to data have rapidly brought major delivery of health care and created a host of new moral dilemmas for which there is no easy solution. The nature of decisions will not always flow from ethically correct precepts. Something truly can be socially correct, medically possible and legally permissible and yet morally reprehensible for the individuals involved.
In general, morality is concerned with what people believe to be right and good conduct. It is transmitted from generation to generation, evolving and being reinterpreted for each age. This broad understanding of what is right and wrong in human conduct is taught to us by our families, religion, national culture and legal structure. Ethics is that part of morality that deals with systematic approaches to questions of morality. It provides the intellectual framework that allows us to analyze and make decisions with regard to moral choices.
Based on the basic principles involved in health care ethics we have discussed, we can be better health professionals by upholding to the best of our abilities the moral and ethical conduct deemed by our respective professions .This ethical principles will guide us to be better health professionals and to be better persons as a whole.
By the late 1990s, caregivers started to question the benefits of clinical paths. Organizations reported problems integrating the pathway document into patient records, thus dampening caregiver enthusiasm for using the pathway. Physicians, nurse, and other clinicians found the pathways difficult to apply to all patient populations. A variety of factors may be causing clinical paths to look like ...
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