A Radical Rupture in the Paradigm of Modern Medicine: Conflicts of Interest, Fiduciary Obligations, and the Scientific Ideal
Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. 1998 Feb; 23(1): 98-122.
Conflicts of interest serve as a cipher for a radical rupture in the Flexnerian paradigm of medicine, and they can only be addressed if we recognize that health care is now practiced by institutions, not just individual physicians. By showing how "appropriate utilization of services" or "that which is medically indicated" is a function of socioeconomic factors related to institutional responsibilities, I point toward an administrative and organizational ethic as a needed component for addressing conflicts of interest. The argument is developed by reviewing three important books. First, I consider Mark Rodwin's attempt to configure the economic structures of medicine so that classical fiduciary and scientific ideals can be fostered. Second, I consider E. Haavi Morreim's attempt to modify the classical ideals in order to account for new economic realities. Finally, by considering essays in a recent volume on conflicts of interest edited by Spece, Shimm, and Buchanan, I argue for a constructive dialectic between the approaches of Rodwin and Morreim. In order to properly address conflicts of interest, there must be a radical reassessment of medicine that accounts for the interrelation between scientific, ethical, and economic concerns. Until institutions come into view and professional ethics is developed to account for their role, legitimate interests and obligations of diverse parties cannot be harmonized.
Accountability; Bioethics; Common Good; Conflict of Interest; Decision Making; Disclosure; Disease; Economics; Entrepreneurship; Ethics; Government; Government Regulation; Health; Health Care; Health Care Delivery; Health Insurance; Health Services; Health Services Misuse; Hospitals; Iatrogenic Disease; Incentives; Institutional Ethics; Insurance; Managed Care Programs; Medical Ethics; Medicine; Managed Care; Obligations to Society; Organizations; Patient Advocacy; Patients; Physicians; Professional Ethics; Professional Organizations; Regulation; Remuneration; Research; Resource Allocation; Responsibilities; Scarcity; Self Regulation; Socioeconomic Factors; Surgery;
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