Institute: ONC | Component: 2 | Unit: 8 | Lecture: c | Slide: 10
Institute:Office of National Coordinator (ONC) Workforce Training Curriculum
Component:The Culture of Health Care
Unit:Ethics and Professionalism
Lecture:Contemporary topics in medical ethics
Slide content:Arguments about Futility Pros Cons Spares patient pain, expense, and inconvenience of unnecessary treatment Care could be labeled as futile to divert resources from disadvantaged populations Increases chances that patient will receive more appropriate care Definitions of what is futile are unclear Saves health care resources Treatments that patients consider beneficial could be limited or eliminated if providers consider them futile 8.7 Table: Pros and cons of medical futility ( CC BY-NC-SA , 2012). 10
Slide notes:The concept of medical futility is controversial for many reasons. Some people fear that the concept will be used to divert health care resources from disadvantaged populations. For example, some people worry that treatments could be labeled as futile in order to save money that would otherwise be spent on expensive treatments for elderly people in the last weeks of life or on patients who have a diagnosis such as cancer. People who support the concept of medical futility say that denying futile treatment makes it more likely that patients will receive the best treatment individualized to their situation. For example, rather than giving an expensive drug that is unlikely to save the life of a patient with late-stage cancer, a patient would be given hospice [ ha - spis ] care to improve his or her quality of life until the end. This is another area where lines may be blurred between the movement toward pay-for-performance reimbursement, covered services by insurance companies, the patients wishes, and clinical practice. 10