Study Finds Doctors' Attitudes Not Always in Sync with Behaviors

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<p>Physicians' attitudes toward professional and ethical standards--including being honest with patients and managing financial conflicts of interest--do not always match up to actual behaviors in practice, according to a <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=30976&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecommonwealthfund%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D620157%26%23doc620157">new study</a> in the <em>Annals of Internal Medicine.</em><br><br>A research team led by Eric G. Campbell, Ph.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital found, for example, that 96 percent of physicians surveyed agreed that they should report impaired or incompetent colleagues to the authorities. However, when the same doctors were asked about their behaviors, 45 percent of those who knew of such individuals had failed to make reports on at least one occasion. The survey included 1,662 physicians in internal medicine, family practice, pediatrics, cardiology, anesthesiology, and general surgery.<br><br>The Institute on Medicine as a Profession, founded in 2003 with support from the Open Society Institute, funded the study. Russell L. Gruen, M.D., a 2002-03 Commonwealth Fund Harkness Fellow in Health Care Policy at the Harvard School of Public Health, and now based at the University of Melbourne, was a coauthor.</p>