Establishing the need and identifying goals for a curriculum in medical business ethics: A survey of students and residents at two medical centers in Missouri

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Abstract

Background: In recent years, issues in medical business ethics (MBE), such as conflicts of interest (COI), Medicare fraud and abuse, and the structure and functioning of reimbursement systems, have received significant attention from the media and professional associations in the United States. As a result of highly publicized instances of financial interests altering physician decision-making, major professional organizations and government bodies have produced reports and guidelines to encourage self-regulation and impose rules to limit physician relationships with for-profit entities. Nevertheless, no published curricula exist in the area of MBE. This study aimed to establish a baseline level of knowledge and the educational goals medical students and residents prioritize in the area of MBE. Methods: 732 medical students and 380 residents at two academic medical centers in the state of Missouri, USA, completed a brief survey indicating their awareness of major MBE guidance documents, knowledge of key MBE research, beliefs about the goals of an education in MBE, and the areas of MBE they were most interested in learning more about. Results: Medical students and residents had little awareness of recent and major reports on MBE topics, and had minimal knowledge of basic MBE facts. Residents scored statistically better than medical students in both of these areas. Medical students and residents were in close agreement regarding the goals of an MBE curriculum. Both groups showed significant interest in learning more about MBE topics with an emphasis on background topics such as "the business aspects of medicine" and "health care delivery systems". Conclusions: The content of major reports by professional associations and expert bodies has not trickled down to medical students and residents, yet both groups are interested in learning more about MBE topics. Our survey suggests potentially beneficial ways to frame and embed MBE topics into the larger framework of medical education.

Original languageEnglish
Article number708
JournalBMC Research Notes
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

Keywords

  • Business in medicine
  • Clinical ethics
  • Graduate medical education
  • Healthcare industry
  • Medical business ethics
  • Medical education
  • Medical ethics
  • Professional ethics

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