March 20, 2016

Fiduciary duty in medicine

Professionalism, Fiduciary Duty, and Health-Related Business Leadership

Professionalism is a key concept to understand the practice of medicine. I have emphasized many times this issue in this blog. Today I would like to take one step further and to define the fiduciary duty of all healthcare professionals, specially those at management positions. In JAMA you'll find an article that elaborates the idea:
Fiduciary duty captures the simple idea of an obligation to act in the best interest of another person or party. The fiduciary is entrusted with the care of another person and must ensure that the person’s interests take precedence over the fiduciary’s own interests. Fiduciary duty is familiar to physicians in their relationship to patients, but in business, executives have a fiduciary duty to “the shareholders and the corporation.” A fiduciary relationship contrasts with a contractual one (in which mutual obligations are largely spelled out), and it imposes more extensive expectations of leaders. Fiduciaries are held to a higher standard precisely because of their power to affect the well-being of others who rely on their judgment and cannot adequately monitor and assess the fiduciary’s actions.
PS. Fiduciary duty concept is better developed under common law rather than civil law. Therefore, we need to rethink its implications.

Toni Catany, Photo-Exhibition in Barcelona