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Neurosurgery. 2017 Apr 1;80(4S):S83-S91. doi: 10.1093/neuros/nyx017.

Seven Ethical Issues Affecting Neurosurgeons in the Context of Health Care Reform.

Abstract

Ethical discussions around health care reform typically focus on problems of social justice and health care equity. This review, in contrast, focuses on ethical issues of particular importance to neurosurgeons, especially with respect to potential changes in the physician-patient relationship that may occur in the context of health care reform.The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 (H.R. 3590) was not the first attempt at health care reform in the United States but it is the one currently in force. Its ambitions include universal access to health care, a focus on population health, payment reform, and cost control. Each of these aims is complicated by a number of ethical challenges, of which 7 stand out because of their potential influence on patient care: the accountability of physicians and surgeons to individual patients; the effects of financial incentives on clinical judgment; the definition and management of conflicting interests; the duty to preserve patient autonomy in the face of protocolized care; problems in information exchange and communication; issues related to electronic health records and data security; and the appropriate use of "Big Data."Systematic social and economic reforms inevitably raise ethical concerns. While the ACA may have driven these 7 to particular prominence, they are actually generic. Nevertheless, they are immediately relevant to the practice of neurosurgery and likely to reflect the realities the profession will be obliged to confront in the pursuit of more efficient and more effective health care.

KEYWORDS:

Big data; Electronic health records and data security; Health care economics; Leadership in medicine; Medical education; Medical ethics; Neurosurgical practice; Patient autonomy; Population health; The Accountable Care Act

PMID:
28375501
DOI:
10.1093/neuros/nyx017
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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