If you are like most healthcare executives, you and your organization regularly
face a broad range of ethical conflicts or questions. How you address these ethical
conflicts reflects both your personal values and those of your organization. As a
healthcare leader, it is up to you to ensure that an ethics-focused culture is
interwoven into the life of the organization, including your policies, performance
measures, management behavior, and clinician/patient actions.
An ethics-focused culture
consists of two fundamental components: 1) an established set of shared values, including
a mission statement, code of ethics, values statement, and ethical guidelines and practices,
and 2) an effective ethics infrastructure, including an ethics program that assists decision
makers and others when the ethical guidelines are not enough, when there is uncertainty about
the proper ethical approach, and when there is a need to develop additional ethical guidelines.
ACHE’s Ethics Toolkit provides tools for developing both parts of an ethical culture.
Understanding how to use ACHE’s Code of Ethics and Ethical Policy Statements, for example,
can help you develop and enhance such resources in your organization, while using the
organizational ethics decision-making process can help you address specific ethical
conflicts when they arise.
Benefits of an Ethical Culture
Healthcare organizations that foster and demand an ethical environment experience:
Increased patient satisfaction
Improved employee morale
Positive public and community relations
Better compliance with regulatory requirements
But ethics cannot be left to chance; an ethical organization will not just somehow evolve.
Rather, it is the result of ethical leadership, continuous reflection and planning, ongoing
monitoring, and accessible, competent ethics resources.
To that end, ACHE developed the Ethics Toolkit to provide practical resources to help healthcare
executives understand how to integrate ethics into their organizations. These tools can support
healthcare leaders in the day-to-day practice of exemplary leadership.
ACHE's Ethics Toolkit:
Provides guidance in understanding and applying ACHE’s Code of Ethics, Ethics Self-Assessment,
and Ethical Policy Statements
Delineates a concrete process through which to respond to organizational ethical challenges
Suggests additional readings and guidelines, and offers links to online ethics resources that
can augment decision making
We hope that these resources will help healthcare leaders promote and clarify ethical standards
of practice throughout their organization and the field of healthcare management.
If you have any feedback about the Ethics Toolkit or about ACHE’s ethical resources, please contact
Deborah J. Bowen, FACHE, CAE, executive vice president and chief operating officer.
Click here to go back to the Ethics Toolkit table of contents.