Bioethics: Healthcare Professionals Choice Impacts Patients

Monday evening I had the privilege of participating in the Bioethics (#bioethx or @BioethxChat) Chat. The topic was highlighting whether or not to challenge or point out particular situations in the care of patients that may not necessarily be in the best interest of a patient, but yet may be financially beneficial to hospital, healthcare organizations, or even physicians.

I have to commend Jennifer Chevinsky (@jchevinsky) for her wonderful moderation and work that she does with this topic, content, and dialogue. I also have to highlight the wonderful contribution on a weekly basis from Yinka Vidal. (@Yinkavidal) Both of these #HCLDR (blog here) truly engage in a dialogue and discussion that pushes conversation on topics that typically challenge our thoughts, our convictions, and our morality in healthcare. I love and look forward to it weekly.

After participating in the conversation last night, it made me ponder several things during and after the discussion. It made me stop and think back on my own experiences in healthcare, as a provider and an administrator, how did I act in similar situations.

What choices did I make in difficult situations and what story did that convey about me?

Some of my responses in the discussion are as follows (you can find full transcript here):

T1: IMO I would push that all options are discussed openly with patients. Care is about meeting patient expectations, not MD’s pontification.

T1: IMO it’s not about what is good for Healthcare System, all patients deserve to know their options. Informed consent.

T1: Life is flawed, but being a #hcldr is about being the voice when others can’t/dont. Silence is just as bad.

T2: Need to leverage internal & external resources. If it feels bad, it usually is. If we do not protect patients, we are liable too.

T2: Ironic that we reside in a world of transparency w FB & Twitter, yet Healthcare still doesn’t get it. Cultures with open dialogue will win business long term.

T4: IMO it begins with a culture that everyone on the team has a voice & responsibility to speak up. See/Hear/Speak of a concern =  you need to raise the concern.

Closing Thought: At end of day I view that I work “for” patients. I work “with” Healthcare Professionals. My job is to speak for patients always. Intention = good.

The reason I am pointing this out is because it reminded me of my experiences on the provider and administrative side of the healthcare business. It is one thing to say things openly, transparently via Twitter. It is a completely different thing to say and do things within a healthcare organization.

I have personally challenges physicians before on doing what is in the best interest of the patient versus what is in the best interest of their own pocketbook. I have leveraged my own knowledge to ask questions, to use data from literature, research, and accepted standards both internally as well as externally within the domain of oncology.

I will admit that at times my line of reasoning may have been proven to be incorrect, but since my intent was to speak on the behalf of the patient, and I did it in a respectful manner, it was not seen as being insubordinate.

I have built cancer centers, hired entire employees to staff an entire service line for oncology, and overnight walked away from it all because I have not agreed with the change in administrative or physician focus on decisions based on finances versus decisions based on what is right for the patient.

It was hard. It was scary. It was difficult. I made the decision to walk away from all material items because in my soul I knew it was the right thing to do. I remembered that my passion led me to this profession, and that I want to make an impact on the lives of patients.

To me that has always been my underlying desire. To make a dent in the life of a patient impacted by the arms of cancer.

The great thing about living in America is that there is always more money to be made, more material items to purchase, but you only have one chance to make the most significant impact on each single cancer patient. It is by simply choosing to do the right thing.

I am highlighting this not because I want a pat on the back, but to allow other healthcare professionals and patients to know, that the vast majority of us in healthcare are here to help, promote, and speak for the patients we are privileged to provide care when needed.

At times we may get frustrated with the system or coworkers. At times we may fear for our jobs or reputation. There may be days when we do not have the stamina to speak out. There are even days in which we may be deflated and cry and wonder if this is all worth it.

I want you to remember that we always have a choice. It may not always be the easiest, or most glamorous, or even the most popular. Yet no matter what, we always have a choice. Always.

Remember, that when you make a choice it may not just be your own story impacted, but it may make the difference between whether a patients story is heard or ignored.

What choices will your story say about you?

As always, you can feel free to contact me at: CANCERGEEK@GMAIL.COM or follow me on twitter @cancergeek

~CancerGeek

#PtExp #PX #cancer #hcldr #hccosts #hcsm #stories #storytelling #lcsm #bcsm #hcmktg #mktg #storyteller #hcpt #consumerism #hcbiz #CX #UX #Bioethx
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