Our Grants

Healthcare Ethics Consultation (HEC) in U.S. Hospitals: Current Practices and Perspectives of HEC Practitioners and Hospital Administrators

Ellen Fox, MD
Altarum Institute
Grant Type Making a Difference
Grant Cycle fall 2015
Duration 27 months
Amount $306,864

Healthcare ethics consultation is a service that is routinely offered by U.S. hospitals to help patients, families, and healthcare providers resolve ethical concerns. 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 problem is that these experts lack critical information about the hospitals they seek to change. This new research study will provide much-needed data about how HEC is currently practiced, the gap between current HEC practices and newly established quality standards, and perspectives of key stakeholders who are responsible for HEC. Dr. Fox and her research team will contact HEC practitioners and hospital administrators at 600 U.S. hospitals and ask them about their hospitals’ HEC practices and their views on potential improvement strategies. The team will also assess current HEC quality using expert reviews of written HEC records. This information will give policymakers the information they need to determine the best strategies to improve HEC quality.