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Thursday, August 4, 2016

A Unified Code of Ethics for Health Professionals: Insights From an IOM Workshop.

Matthew K. Wynia, Sandeep P. Kishore, & Cynthia D. Belar
JAMA, 2014;311(8):799-800.

Here is an excerpt:

Professional obligations under these social contracts are often expressed in codes of ethics; although, unlike laws and regulations, the level of public engagement in developing professional codes has traditionally been limited. Still, when professional codes have failed to meet societal expectations, they have been publicly criticized and eventually changed, such as when the American Medical Association's code initially failed to fully obligate physicians to care for patients with human immunodeficiency virus infection.


First, a new social contract should be articulated in a code of ethics that does not focus on the roles and obligations of just 1 subset of health professionals. The traditional approach to professionalism in health care has separated health professionals according to education and credentialing, with each group seeking to establish its own social contract. In negotiating their social roles, this separation has allowed groups at times to ignore, show little regard for, or even be overtly hostile toward the roles of other groups (for example, in debates over scope of practice and payment issues). This approach is counterproductive in today's health care environment, which demands teamwork.


Second, transdisciplinary professionalism demands more than a 1-time listing of shared values by a multidisciplinary group. A meaningful transdisciplinary professionalism will entail the creation of new institutional frameworks, which are required for 'defining, debating, declaring, distributing and enforcing" the expectations and standards that health care professionals and the public agree should govern work in the health care arena'.

The article is here.