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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Rebecca L Volpe, B.A.(Saint Louis University)
Description: This book examines ethical conflicts in healthcare from an organizational level. The author posits that small decisions eventually lead down a slippery slope toward ethical conflicts, and that the antidote to this slipping is "ethical wisdom."
Purpose: The stated purpose is to affirm the belief that when healthcare organizations and those who work in them can more fully express their passion for caring by doing the right thing every day, the result is stronger organizational performance, including improved safety and care, and higher personal satisfaction. The author is successful in articulating his beliefs, but provides little in the way of justification.
Audience: He notes that this book will be helpful for leaders, managers, and individual contributors in healthcare organizations. However, it seems that it may be particularly suited for someone who is new to healthcare and seeking a general overview of ethical pitfalls facing organizations.
Features: Part I attempts to define what it means to do the right thing for healthcare organizations. Parts II and III focus in depth on four ethical pathways through which an organization can produce exceptional results: the ethical pathways of culture, leadership and governance, infrastructure, and personal integrity. The author provides captivating case studies and examples in each of the four sections, making the book more interesting and accessible.
Assessment: The author does a thorough job addressing the challenges facing healthcare organizations and the potential pitfalls to avoid. However, readers seeking scientific evidence or cogent philosophical argument in support of the author's claims will be disappointed. Sweeping statements are made — for example, that financial performance in healthcare is strengthened through a consistent focus on vision, mission, and values — and yet, other than case studies, few arguments or evidence are provided in support. Overall, this book is a good introduction to healthcare organizations and the ethical dilemmas they face, but it does not provide substantial evidence to validate many of its claims.