ANN ARBOR, MI —Altarum Institute announces the foundation of its new Center for Ethics in Health Care. The Center will focus on improving health care by improving ethics programs and practices. The Center’s first research project will look at health care ethics consultation (HEC), a service that is routinely offered by U.S. hospitals to help patients, families, and health care providers resolve ethical concerns.
The Center’s research team will ask HEC practitioners and administrators in 600 U.S. hospitals about their HEC practices and their views on potential improvement strategies. The team will also assess current HEC quality using expert reviews of written HEC records.
In recent years, concerns have been raised about the quality of HEC and the fact that HEC services operate with little oversight. Bioethics experts have been actively debating how best to improve HEC practices.
The new Center is being funded, in part, by a grant from the Greenwall Foundation and will begin work in January, 2016. The Greenwall Foundation promotes bioethics research in order to improve patient care, inform biomedical research, and enhance public policy.
Altarum’s Center for Ethics in Health Care will be led by Dr. Ellen Fox, a board certified internal medicine physician and internationally recognized expert in health care ethics. She is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Fox Ethics Consulting and is also Professor of Bioethics at Clarkson University.
“Like any health care service, ethics consultation needs to meet quality standards,” said Dr. Fox. “This research will give hospitals and policymakers information they need to improve ethics consultation quality nationwide.”