Friday, August 31, 2007

Why start this blog?

Medical ethics has traditionally focused on the individual patient, the individual doctor, and the patient-doctor relationship. But today most care occurs in organizational settings – group practices, HMOs, VA and more. Insurers and other third parties have a huge influence on the exam room. Medicare shapes care for the elderly and disabled. Medicaid does the same for the poor. Hospital cultures and policies affect what sick patients experience, for both better and worse.

All this means that the ethical quality of health care is profoundly influenced by the ethics of organizations. We can’t have ethical health care without ethical organizations.

Organizational ethics is what this blog is all about.

In the blog I will talk about how organizations engage with the ethical dimensions of their work. I will look for approaches we can learn from, not simply to wring my hands and rant. I hope the blog stimulates discussion and debate. I encourage readers to present their own perspectives.