Question of the Week

We’ve had a question raised about a Medical Staff member who performed a test on a family member without going through the formal patient registration process.  What can we do to educate our medical staff about the risks involved with these kinds of practices?

We have found it to be helpful to set forth guidelines that remind Medical staff members of the concerns that can arise when a physician treats him or herself, a family member, or others with whom the physician has a close relationship.  A good starting spot is the Standard E-8.19 in the American Medical Association’s Code of Ethics, which speaks to how such actions can compromise professional objectivity and unduly influence medical judgment.  In addition, your state medical board may have guidance on this issue.

Relying on these resources, Medical Staff leaders can then adopt policy language that reinforces the standards of acceptable medical practice in these situations.