Medical School Ethics versus Business School Ethics

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Is Business Finally Embracing Medical Values?

[By Render S. Davis MHA CHE]

[By David Edward Marcinko MBA]


In the evolutionary shifts in models for medical care, physicians have been asked to embrace business values of efficiency and cost effectiveness, sometimes at the expense of their professional judgment and personal values.

While some of these changes have been inevitable as our society sought to rein in out-of-control costs, it is not unreasonable for physicians to call on payers, regulators and other business parties to the health care delivery system to raise their ethical bar.


Harvard University physician-ethicist Linda Emmanuel noted that “health professionals are now accountable to business values (such as efficiency and cost effectiveness), so business persons should be accountable to professional values including kindness and compassion.”



[Medicine versus Business]



Within the framework of ethical principles, John La Puma, M.D., wrote in Managed Care Ethics, that “business’s ethical obligations are integrity and honesty.

Medicine’s are those plus altruism, beneficence, non-maleficence, respect, and fairness.”

About the Author

Render Davis was a Certified Healthcare Executive, now retired from Crawford Long Hospital at Emory University, in Atlanta, GA He served as Assistant Administrator for General Services, Policy Development, and Regulatory Affairs from 1977-95.  He is a founding board member of the Health Care Ethics Consortium of Georgia and served on the consortium’s Executive Committee, Advisory Board, Futility Task Force, Strategic Planning Committee, and chaired the Annual Conference Planning Committee, for many years.



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3 Responses

  1. Business ethics are no match for medical ethics

    Compared to most others in society, physicians endorse, and are held to, higher ethical standards.

    (To illustrate, here are ethical codes from the AMA and the World Medical Association).

    Ann Miller RN MHA


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  3. Office Ethics

    Why I question the ethics of any doctor who sells supplements to patients.

    Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA


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