Trust. It's at the heart of every physician-patient relationship. The moment you walk into the examination room, your skills and education are put to the test as your patient is relying on your expertise and guidance to restore their health. More than just medical degrees hanging up on the wall, it is your conduct and commitment to the AMA code of medical ethics to “regard responsibility to the patient as paramount” that creates an atmosphere of comfort and assurance.
As a physician, your commitment to making ethical decisions based on your patients' best interest is one of the fundamental elements in establishing and maintaining trust. While it's true that the health care industry seeks to make profit just like any other, being an advocate for your patients' health always takes priority. As employer demands grow, it is becoming increasingly more important to manage personal and professional conflicts of interest.
Conflicts of interest between physicians and patients
It is no secret that being a physician can be a very lucrative career path, but it's not a common reason why many choose to go to medical school. According to a survey conducted of what drove physicians across the U.S. to pursue medicine posted by St. George's University School of Medicine, some of the top reasons include:
- To save lives in unexpected emergencies
- To empower patients to take control of their health
- To play a critical role in a growing field
Unfortunately, financial incentives for physicians are still a concern for patients. According to a Report of the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs*, in the era of managed care some of the risk-bearing arrangements that may benefit physicians may also be harmful to patients. Incentives for a job well done are not inherently wrong, but often put physicians in a difficult position.