Ethical Standards in American Health Care Delivery

Abstract summary

Ethics is defined as the norms or standards of behavior that guide moral choices about the conduct of the personnel in any organization and this case we will therefore be able to look at the conduct of the doctors in relation with their patients. From this study we therefore find out that the goal of medical ethics is to ensure the safety of the patients is guaranteed to avoid suffering the consequences from the unscrupulous medical practices. This paper is dealing with the ethics or the management of healthcare industry in America.

We therefore find out that the health care system in any nation including America is given the responsibility of ensuring that the delivery of health care is well managed in the existing societies this means that the care provided should be of high quality for this objective to be achieved it therefore requires the health sector in any country to employ health practitioners who are very much qualified to work in this sector whereby they are supposed to have ability of working with the current technological inventions, carefully carrying out their practices in the working environment wit an intention of managing and avoiding risk factors.

Summary of One Reference Book

The book by: Anne, E. Mills, Edward Spencer and Patricia Werhane, (2001): Developing Organizational Ethics in Healthcare: A Case-Based Approach to Policy, Practice, and Compliance.

The book clearly outlines the use of the code conduct by health workers and further shows the stated values and expectation that are meant to provide ethical guidelines that should be practiced in the healthcare industry. The book also states that with such code of ethics the workforce and other stakeholders of the healthcare industry are obligated to be judgmental over their actions through which they are to be taken responsible for conducting the actions in any manner. The book further clearly points out the importance of ethical code with particular regards to employee integrity as a culture in any medical institutions. The book presents various cases that show that anyone who is found to be violating the code of conduct in the healthcare industry will be made to face serious disciplines including the termination of his involvement with the institution he works for.

From the text it can be deduced that ethics in health care is very critical issue and all parties in the health sector should observe the necessary regulations required. The book completely relies on case studies in medical practice, citing the cases as the only way to learn and thus formulate acceptable code of conducts in healthcare industry. Therefore the book uses firs hand experiences from teachers, patients, parents, healthcare workers and other stakeholders to illustrate the way forward in the health care industry in terms of provision of excellent medical facilities to the members of the public

The book further stresses the need for organizations to formulate and adopt excellent code of ethics that will guide the employees in carrying out their duties in the ordinary course of their duties to provide best medical practices. Further the book points out that chief Executive Officers and senior managers in medical institutions should liaise with the experts on the best and suitable code of ethics in an organization which will aid in attaining there core objectives.

Introduction

This study indicates that ethics is defined as the norms or standards of behavior that guide moral choices about the conduct of the personnel in any organization and this case the conduct of the doctors in relation with their patients. The goal of medical ethics is to ensure the safety of the patients is guaranteed to avoid suffering the consequences from the unscrupulous medical practices. We find out that the United States is known to be one of the most powerful countries all over the world. Despite this profile for this developed nation, it is reputed to have one of the worst healthcare systems. The healthcare system is full of unethical practices done by nurses, doctors, and executives among others. From this we will therefore be able to look at the healthcare system in the United States whereby studies conducted show that the health practitioners are more concerned about money and not the general healthcare of the patients (Anne, Edward, and Patricia, 2001).

Literature Review

Research indicates that medical ethics deals with study of judgments and moral values as they are related to the medical field. We therefore state that there are various expectations on medical practitioners, that is, nurses, executive doctors among other people. (Aaron, 2007) we can therefore traced this back to the various guidelines on physician’s duty. In this case we therefore find that the following are some of the important values about medical ethics.

  • Dignity- here we find that every patient and the doctor has a right to dignity
  • Justice- this is about the distribution of scarce health resources and about who is gets a specific treatment.
  • Non-maleficence-involves doing no harm
  • Autonomy- here we find that the medical practitioners normally regard it as the right of the patient choosing or refusing a form of treatment
  • Beneficence- Involves action of a medical practitioner done to the patient’s best interest
  • Honesty and truthfulness- this is whereby a person has an informed consent

All these are important aspects in the healthcare industry and they provide a framework that is useful in understanding the various conflicts in this industry. (Blevins, 1995).

From this review we find that there are various unethical practices in line with the values indicated above and they are as follows:

Confidentiality

We find that this is one of the areas as to where there has been unethical practice among the doctors in United States. Many doctors in the United States lack the value of confidentiality any more. Research carried out in the year 2006 in the United States among patients shows that this value has greatly declined among medical practitioners. It is obvious that when patients are examined by doctors they give very confidential information concerning their health. (Aaron, 2007)

This paper finds out that doctors in United States no longer keep the patient’s information confidential. Doctors are sharing such information with family members and also colleagues at work. It has been noted that such confidential information is shared with the patient’s relatives in case doctors know them. This has caused problems for the patients about how they are viewed in the society. This principle of confidentiality has greatly declined amongst doctors in United States.

Surgeries

Looking at the healthcare in United States we may therefore reveal that the doctors are simply after money. This is especially in private doctors in United States. For instance research carried out among many private doctors in United States shows that when patients (expectant women) go for clinics, doctors feign that the women have complications and so they cannot have normal delivery. These doctors go ahead to refer patients to attend their hospitals because they claim that they have the patient’s medical history and therefore are in a position to handle the medical cases better (Anne, Edward, and Patricia, 2001).

We therefore find out that as the result of the patients’ ignorance they follow the doctor’s instructions to the later. The doctors know very well that carrying out surgeries is expensive and therefore they recommend patients to undergo even when it is not necessary. This is just to ensure that they get more money from patients at the expense of the patient’s health. In this case the concern is not on good care and health of patients but it is about getting more money. This is quite unethical especially min the medical field. (Strunk, and Gabel, 2002).

Drug prescriptions

This is one of the areas where we find that there is unethical practice in the healthcare sector in America. Doctors in United States are prone to prescribing expensive drugs for the patients when they know very well that the health problem can be cured using lesser expensive drugs. These drugs are stocked in their hospitals and are sold quite expensively. Some of the expensive drugs end up destroying the patient’s immunity.

This is not the concern of doctors and nurses but it is all about getting money from patients. (American Psychological Association, 2001).

Over-medication results from patients using more drugs than those required to heal there particular diseases. According to research conducted by IMS Health in the year 2006 worldwide spending was estimated to be over six hundred billion dollars although reports were suggesting that there was slow expansion in some parts of Europe and also North America. (Schaeffer, 2002).

Investigation shows that patient sensitivity of over-prescription may be significant in several approaches. For example, patients might be accurate on the suppositions that they make. Also patients using a lot of prescriptions might be less advocators of their remedial course of therapy. Also patient’s feelings regarding the quantity of their prescription may echo the existence of unfavorable medical drug effects, comprising indications not acknowledged as connected to prescription by both the medical doctor and patient. It is also worth noting that it may be probable that patient sensitivity of over-prescription can be a demonstration of a condition known as psychoneurosis thus resulting to numerous health complications of patients. (Moynihan, 2003).

Check ups

This study indicates that it is very unethical for doctors and medical executives to keep on referring patients to have check ups even when they know that it is unnecessary. We find that this is what is happening in the United States. It is done not that medical practitioners are interested in the health of the patients, but it is carried out so that there is continual flow of income. 93.1% of medical practitioners in United States are just opportunists. They ensure that they recommend patients to have check ups even when it is not necessary. Because patients are ignorant of this scheme they attend the check ups religiously not knowing that its all about their money and not their health as posed. That is why we refer to the healthcare industry as a sick industry (Dorschner, 2003).

Lack of justice in healthcare

Looking at the healthcare in United States we find that there is lack of justice practiced in hospitals. This is very common among nurses. Injustice is carried out as they care for patients. Surveys carried out indicate that nurses tended to offer some facilities to patients who are well off. Those patients who are not poor are not given the necessary attention when in hospital. This is not ethical at all and has created various disparities in this essential service (Anne, Edward, and Patricia, 2001).

Those affected by the unethical health practices

Children

One of the major aspects that have recently been affected by the unethical health practices in the United States is that of children this is well indicated in the president’s denial of healthcare coverage for children. This has been referred by scholars as a slap in the face of children. The president said that he believes in private medicine and not in the U.S federal government running the entire system of healthcare. This will automatically reduce a large percentage of insurance profit.

Low and middle class citizens

In this case we find that the unethical practices are bound to greatly affect the low and middle class citizens in the nation as they are always not in a position to afford private insurance cover any more. This means that the healthcare sector in United States have continued to deteriorate as insurance companies hike their charges about provision of this essential health facility. We therefore reveal that the poor in United States have not been in a position to afford health insurance (Dorschner, 2003).

Patient’s well being

This should be the primary concern in the healthcare system should be the well being of the patient and not the expenses that are involved. Shareholders in healthcare business need to understand that this is not a business like any other. That is they need not to focus on how much is generated but rather on how well the services are provided. This issue can be better balanced among shareholders by educating them on the imperative issues in healthcare industry which is seeing patients get better and not the amount of profits gained from therein.

Before the price of services is decided in healthcare there needs to be consultation among shareholders so that there is approval of policies. The policies enacted have to be sensitive to the patients’ pockets. When policies are well placed it will help hinder exploitation of patients about the amount that they pay (Dorschner, 2003).

Recommendations and Conclusion

Regulations in healthcare are essential as they will help to protect the public against unethical practices from medical practitioners. The following regulations need to be put in place; the procedures for ensuring that the health professionals’ conduct doesn’t pose a threat to patients have to be strengthened. They have to focus more on creation of effective operation procedures among medical professionals. There also needs to be ensuring the standards that are required for a beginner in the healthcare industry have to be common all over United States. There has to be common legal requirements for individuals getting registration to become medical practitioners in United States (Aaron, 2007).

When the regulations are put in place, revalidation of all the professionals is important. The regulatory body has to be in charge of standard setting so that individuals have to maintain these standards to remain on the register. Data has to be carried out often on how medical professionals are carrying out their work. That is about the treatments given to patients and the amount of money that they are charging them.

Doctors need to know that patient privacy is supreme and there should be no medical data or recognizing information is conveyed to a third person with no articulate authorization of the patient. To guarantee that information is amassed and conveyed safely and carefully, certain hardware and scientific explanations that congregate worldwide principles have been put into practice (Schaeffer, 2002).

Such proceedings or reports are kept and interpret from innermost computer networks gifted with the utmost principles and values of physical and computerized information safekeeping. Medical data of patients should not be delivered by electronic mail or kept on secondary computers that can be accessed by anyone. The patient has power to right of entry to data to view this medical documentation.

Medical doctors should therefore comply with the requirements of other appropriate global privacy regulations. The huge majority of our moral preferences should be presenting more simply by adhering to the regulation presented by universal moral principles e.g. individual and proficient standards, guidelines, or set of laws. Always with such alternatives the patients will have little worries and slight perplexity (Warren, 2005).

However, it is also important to note that some options may be cumbersome to implement whereby such options may leave the patient to think if the doctors have been doing what they are supposed to do so. Doctors therefore ought to learn and be familiar with morally complicated alternatives to carry out their duties effectively. There exist many morally complicated options that arise frequently and doctors should be aware on how to deal with such options (Strunk, and Gabel, 2002).

There should also be the implementation of emergency services in the health organizations Emergency medical systems should be used both in urban and rural areas. These systems should be installed in hospitals and health centers to deal with the emergency cases. Such systems are mostly in intensive care unit, reception area and also place like theatre. These emergency medical systems include use of ambulance, alarm bells in wards and theatre.

The usage of the emergency services in many health organizations will prove an increase in quality and efficiency of care in the hospitals. Using emergency gadgets like alarm bells help nurses and doctors to serve patient well. They will be in a position to attend to emergency calls in good time than if emergency systems were not present. Quality service will be greatly improved in the health sector (Anne, Edward, and Patricia, 2001).

Using emergency today’s emergency medical systems in hospitals highly increases patient’s satisfaction. This is because in case a patient has had like an accident, emergency medical systems at the reception help the patient to be attended to very fast. Research shows that with increase in these technological advancements patients will be more satisfied with the services that they receive in hospitals.

Not only doctors benefit from using emergency medical systems. Even other nursing and medical practitioners in hospitals find that their work is far more simplified when emergency medical systems are used. This means that they do not have to be physically present in the wards all the time. Emergency medical systems can always alert them when there is need to give individual attention to patients. This helps them to plan their time well and also attend to other important issues at the same time.

Emergency medical systems when well incorporated in hospitals, helps in saving many lives. An example is the system that is used to put off fires in hospitals. These gadgets and machineries are normally placed strategically in hospitals. Research shows that many lives can be saved through the use of emergency systems. There are also emergency systems that should be installed in theaters that can help during most of the major operations carried out in theatres (Strunk, and Gabel, 2002).

These emergency gadgets should help doctors to detect very easily how the patients are going on. For instance if one or parts of the organs in the patients are failing, the emergency systems alert doctors. These doctors on duty usually respond quickly to the emergency therefore saving the life of the patient being operated on. This would not be possible if the doctors would have to check on the progress of patients manually. Many lives would easily be lost. Using ambulances as an emergency medical system helps hospital staff to save very many lives (Aaron, 2007).

Using emergency medical systems in communities helps patients to easily access hospitals for medical care and check up. For instance when ambulances are used they are faster than using the normal public means to access hospitals. This is because ambulances cannot be held up in traffic. It is far more advantageous for people who stay far away for medical services.

Training of employee, training is very important as it improves the skills and knowledge of a person. Studies indicate that no matter how much an employee is qualified, he/her can not perfect in every thing and he/she will need more training to perfect his/her skill. A well trained employee improves his performance and the performance of the organization as a whole. In recognizing this aspect, health organizations should offer monthly training through which the training program should include skills lab, hospital wide orientation, clinical skills training and computer training among others. This training goes a long way in improving the overall service that the hospital offers (American Psychological Association, 2001).

Unethical issues in the health care sector may not be eliminated but they can be minimized. One of the ways is to carry out management development. This is where the doctors learn as they continue with their duties. It can be done formally and informally. Both ways are important and can lead to minimizing unethical practices in the health sector. There should be seminars and workshops where the health professionals are taught. This helps the professionals to acquire and up date their skills about technological advancement.

Surveillance in the organizations should be encouraged since this can help minimize unethical events occurring. The managers in hospitals that are simply lax in doing their work have to be done away with. The health professionals have to be assessed frequently. Those that are underperforming should be spotted and the necessary measures taken. This can help to prevent further harm on the patients by these professionals (Bates, 2001).

Managers in hospitals should ensure that the professional are enough considering the number of patients they speculate to have. They then have to carry out planning on who has to be on duty at what time.

In United States of America, healthcare influences the well being of millions of Americans, but also influences the strength of Americas’ economy. This nation spends more on health care per person than any other nations. America is said to be having the highest infant mortality rates and a relatively low average lifespan.

For many families, lack of Health care is the source of vulnerability for the household’s economic status as sickness or injury without health care can be a financial burden pushing families to poverty. Americans having Private health coverage has fallen by one percent in the recent years. Health care industry has continued to grow with an increase in employment, this is putting health care in America to become the biggest industry and yet a rather unimpressive result to be proud of when compared to what has been achieved in other countries (Strunk, and Gabel, 2002).

Sixty nine percent of the American public feels that it is the Federal government’s responsibility to ensure that all Americans have health care coverage, but many argue that a single – payer system can solve most of the problems that are currently plaguing the health care system in the country. It is said that a universal health care coverage would have the benefits of reducing the gap in health care coverage and be beneficial to healthcare service providers located in areas with high rates of uninsured people, according to the institute of Medicine in America. Regulations need to be put in place so that healthcare professionals do not continue with unethical practices at the expense of patients’ well being.

Using emergency medical system has many advantages compared to their disadvantages. Saving human life is the biggest advantage that using emergency medical systems has. Human life is invaluable. While using emergency medical systems has got disadvantages in the costs, it is far much better to use them than not to use them. Health institutions should strive to install these emergency medical systems despite the costs (Schaeffer, 2002).

Reference

Aaron, J. (2007), The Little, Brown compact handbook 6th edition New York: Addison Wesley Longman Inc.

Aiken, L. & Silber, J. (2003) – Educational levels of hospital nurses and surgical patient. Mortality; Jama; 290; 1615-1620.

American Psychological Association (2001) Publications manual of the American psychological association 5th edition Washington, DC.

Anne, E. Mills, Edward Spencer and Patricia Werhane, (2001): Developing Organizational Ethics in Healthcare: A Case-Based Approach to Policy, Practice, and Compliance, New York.

Bates, D. (2001) – Reducing the frequency of Errors in Medicine Using Information Technology; Jamia; 8; 289-305.

Blevins, S. (1995): The medical monopoly: Protecting consumers or limiting Competition; Cato Policy Analysis pg 246.

Correl, R. (1999): Pros and Cons of Emergency Medical Systems; New York; Harvard.

Moynihan, R. (2003): Who pays for the pizza? Redefining the relationships between Doctors and Patients; American Medical Journal; Vol. 326, Issue 7400. Pp 900-1080 United States; Pp 12-16.

Schaeffer, S. (2002): Rising Health-Care Expenses Outpace U.S. GDP Growth, HealthCare costs rose 9.3% in 2002 PP 207-217.

Strunk, B. and Gabel, J. (2002): Tracking health care costs- Growth accelerates again. In 2001; Health affairs; Pp 45-67

Warren, E. (2005): Sick and Broke; New York; Melbourne Press.