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VSHMPR Spring Conference: Ethics in Healthcare and Social Marketing

Posted May 07 2010 12:00am

Our final presentation of the VSHMPR Spring Conference was on the topic of Ethics in Healthcare Marketing by Michael Gillette, Ph.D. of Bioethical Services of Virginia. Bioethical Services of Virginia, Inc. provides medical ethics programs and services. Bioethical Services was established in 1994. They provide assistance to healthcare providers, patients and families when they face difficult ethical issues and troubling healthcare decisions. They also work with hospitals, hospices, long-term care facilities community providers of services and managed care organizations in order to bring about an environment that is receptive to the discussion and consideration of ethical issues. They also provide educational programs to schools, associations, organizations and community groups in order to help people become more informed and thoughtful healthcare consumers. It is a very interesting company.

The focus of Michael’s presentation today was “Ethical Issues in Social Networking.” Or ethics for Facebook Marketing. He started out by reviewing some of the major landmark cases in medical ethics. Then, on to Facebook ethics: This was a very engaging presentation, or group exercise, where we talked through a case study involving a patient disclosing suicidal thought on Facebook. One adolescent patient reveals to his or her therapist that a friend (also a patient of the therapist) is expressing suicidal thoughts on his Facebook wall. Is it ethical for the therapist to go on the second patient’s Facebook page to verify this information? Then, if he dies this, should he then confront the patient with this information? This was  very challenging discussion on just one cup of coffee! Thank goodness for coffee breaks. I really enjoyed Michael’s presentation. He has a really sharp mind and did a great job managing the ever evolving group discussion.

Although I’ve participated in the conferences of the Virginia Society for Healthcare Marketing and Public Relations for several years, this was my firm ‘s first time actually sponsoring one of the conferences. We believe it is important to support the mission of the regional associations that support hospital-based marketers. Attending and sponsoring this conference was a terrific experience. This is a great group of marketing professionals.

Post by Dan Dunlop, The Healthcare Marketer

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