The Importance of Ethical Committees in the Evolving Healthcare Environment

As healthcare moves more toward a system of value-based care, ethical committees are becoming more important to ensuring an institution's ethical values are evident in the way it provides care to patients, explained Jacqueline Glover, PhD, professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the Center for Bioethics and Humanities at the University of Colorado Denver.
Published Online: May 11, 2017


As healthcare moves more toward a system of value-based care, ethical committees are becoming more important to ensuring an institution's ethical values are evident in the way it provides care to patients, explained Jacqueline Glover, PhD, professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the Center for Bioethics and Humanities at the University of Colorado Denver.

Transcript
How has the role of ethics consultation evolved as drug prices have increased so much and the industry has focused more on measuring quality of care delivered?
Value-based care is important, because it strives to have patient-centered care, health of the population, and reduce costs. And those are associated with ethical values. Patient-centered care is respect for choice; population health is beneficience, doing good, not harming; and cost is associated with the ethical value of justice.

And I think ethics committees and consult services that are associated with ethics committees have evolved in the following way: we are not just reactive to specific dilemmas at the bedside. Ethics committees are becoming more involved in developing and maintaining the ethical climate or culture of an institution. Ethics committees are involved in writing and reviewing policies, and they're also evolved in education.

What I mean by ethical culture is every institution has a mission and visions and values that are displayed on the walls of the institutions. What I mean by ethical climate is that the ethical values are brought up on every level of discussion in an institution, from bedside to board room, if you will. And those discussions and decisions are what make the mission and values on a piece of paper come alive in the care that we provide every day to patients.

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