Ética de la organización de la atención de salud
Health care organization is not only a technical issue. Ethics gives meaning to the medical profession's declared intent of preserving the health and life of the people while honoring their intelligence, dignity and intimacy. It also induces physicians to apply their knowledge, intellect and skills for the benefit of the patient. In a health care system, it is important that people have insurance coverage for health contingencies and that the quality of the services provided be satisfactory. People tend to judge the medical profession according to the experience they have in their personal encounter with physicians, health care workers, hospitals and clinics. Society and its political leaders must decide upon the particular model that will ensure the right of citizens to a satisfactory health care. Any health care organization not founded on humanitarian and ethical values is doomed to failure. The strict adherence of physicians to Hippocratic values and to the norms of good clinical practice as well as to an altruistic corporative attitude will improve the efficiency of the health care sector and reduce its costs. It is incumbent upon society to generate the conditions where by the ethical roots of medical care can be brought to bear upon the workings of the health care system. Every country must strive to provide not only technically efficient medical services, but also the social mechanisms that make possible a humanitarian interaction between professionals and patients where kindness and respect prevail (Rev Méd Chile 2004; 132: 388-92).