Measuring Quality in Ethics Consultation
Sally E. Bliss, Jane E. Oppenlander, Jacob M. Dahlke, Gordon J. Meyer, Eva M. Williford, and Robert C. Macauley
For all of the emphasis on quality improvement—as well as the acknowledged overlap between assessment of the quality of healthcare services and clinical ethics—the quality of clinical ethics consultation has received scant attention, especially in terms of empirical measurement. Recognizing this need, the second edition of Core Competencies for Health Care Ethics Consultation1 identified four domains of ethics quality: (1) ethicality, (2) stakeholders’ satisfaction, (3) resolution of the presenting conflict/dilemma, and (4) education that translates into knowledge. This study is the first, to our knowledge, to directly measure all of these domains. Here we describe the quality improvement process undertaken at a tertiary care academic medical center, as well as the tools developed to measure the quality of ethics consultation, which include post-consultation satisfaction surveys and weekly case conferences. The information gained through these tools helps to improve not only the process of ethics consultation, but also the measurement and assurance of quality.
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