The following case study illustrates some difficult ethical issues hospital marketers face on the job. When deciding on the best way to confront these "gray" ethical areas, hospitals marketers should use these questions as a guide:
- What are the hospital's objectives in implementing this plan?
- Will this marketing activity contribute to the public good, or is it merely self-serving?
- Are promotional efforts truthful in all aspects?
- Are marketing efforts not only legal, but fair to the public?
- Do the means justify the end? That is, can results be supported based on the ethical correctness of the process?
Case Study: Marketing a new procedure.
The administrator of a successful hospital is approached by an attending physician who has recently attended a seminar on a new out patient procedure that is stated to be quick and profitable. However, the procedure is still considered experimental, and some conservative authorities regard it to be of questionable value. The physician would like to offer this new procedure and promote it with an extensive media campaign. A majority of the medical staff sees no problem. The administrator has doubts. While the administrator is not a physician and would not attempt to evaluate a clinical procedure, she is concerned about promoting a procedure such as this one.
What should the administrator do?
Based on the Goldman article, the healthcare industry must reflect "the highest ethical standards because healthcare customers lack the knowledge needed to make truly educated choices" (Goldman, 2011). In the case presented, the proposed procedure is still considered experimental and some authorities even question the procedure's value. Thus, promoting this procedure violates the ethical standards of the industry. In particular, it violates the second ethical principal, "avoid unnecessary services". The text states it is "unethical to build demand for unneeded services" (Goldman, 2011). Even if the procedure could bring in more patients and more sales, it is wrong to offer a procedure that is not fully vetted, particularly one, which is considered by some authorities to be of questionable ...
This detailed solution addresses ethics in healthcare based upon a case study. It answers ethic questions regarding marketing a new, untested procedure. APA reference is included.