Ethics and Economic Decision Making

The issue

One issue that deals with ethics and economic decision making is patients making health care decisions based on the information they receive from health care providers. Health care is a critical matter and in times when health care delivery is becoming more patient-centered, patients should be presented with the information that they need to make decisions regarding the health care services that they would want to receive (Zolkefli, 2017).  In most cases, health providers have the duty to help patients make the right decisions by providing all the necessary information and explaining all that a patient needs to know about their condition, available treatment options and the most suitable treatment option. 

The decision regarding the costs and benefits of treatment options of the available treatment options is a matter of ethics and economic decision making as the patient makes the decision based on the cost of available options. However, each treatment option has its unique value when it comes to the quality of treatment and managing the patient’s condition. Without proper guidance, many patients end up choosing options that are less costly while ignoring the potential benefits of the alternative treatment options that might appear costly. Even if the patient chooses the premium treatment option, the insurance company or the health care provider might refuse to offer this option based on costs (White, 2014). In the health care contexts, decisions made are often influenced by cost and other factors and this raises the issue of ethics or what is wrong or right when it comes to providing quality care.

Leadership implications

Leadership has a significant role to play in this issue as health care leaders have the responsibility of providing direction when it comes to making health care decisions. Leaders in health care must push for ethical decision making by ensuring that they provide all the facts and necessary information that patients might need to make decisions. The leaders should also allow patients to part of the decision making process by asking them what they would want and giving them the benefits and limitations of each decision path that will be taken. Another role of leadership in this issue is promoting good communication skills so that cooperation and understanding is enhanced in the patient-physician relationship. The patient should have a chance to weigh all the options and be able to make the right decision regarding what the best treatment option would be. 

Recommendations for addressing the issue

To address the issue of cost effectiveness in making health care decisions, physicians and other health care providers should ensure that patients have access to all the information that they need to make the right decisions. Physicians should communicate the benefits and costs of each treatment option while stressing on the impact of each treatment option on the patient’s health. To promote ethical decision making, the following framework might be used:

  • Identifying the ethical issue – this involves identifying the problem and whether it involves doing the right thing or the wrong thing.
  • Getting the facts about the issue – this involves identifying all stakeholders that might be affected by the decision and the concerns of these stakeholders.
  • Evaluating alternative actions – this involves identifying all the possible options and their benefits and cost (Carvalho et al., 2018).
  • Making the decision – the option with the most benefits and the least harm should be chosen
  • Evaluating the outcome – this involves assessing the impact of the decision and whether or not the decision was the best.


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