No published curricula in the area of medical business ethics exist. This is surprising given that physicians wrestle daily with business decisions and that professional associations, the Institute of Medicine, Health and Human Services, Congress, and industry have issued related guidelines over the past 5 years. To fill this gap, the authors aimed (1) to identify the full range of medical business ethics topics that experts consider important to teach, and (2) to establish curricular priorities through expert consensus.
In spring 2012, the authors conducted an online Delphi survey with two heterogeneous panels of experts recruited in the United States. One panel focused on business ethics in medical practice (n = 14), and 1 focused on business ethics in medical research (n = 12).
Panel 1 generated an initial list of 14 major topics related to business ethics in medical practice, and subsequently rated 6 topics as very important or essential to teach. Panel 2 generated an initial list of 10 major topics related to business ethics in medical research, and subsequently rated 5 as very important or essential. In both domains, the panel strongly recommended addressing problems that conflicts of interest can cause, legal guidelines, and the goals or ideals of the profession.
The Bander Center for Medical Business Ethics at Saint Louis University will use the results of the Delphi panel to develop online curricular resources for each of the highest rated topics.