Welcome to the College - Page 15

The Practice Guide 5. Managing Conflicts of Interest A physician must always act in the patient’s best interests. A physician’s interests should not be in conflict with the patient’s. Any conflicts of interest must be properly managed so as not to compromise the patient’s best interests, or be avoided. Physicians should guard against compromising their duty to their patients by pursuing personal advantage, whether financial or otherwise, at the expense of the patient. Physicians, like any other member of society, are entitled to earn an income and be paid appropriately for their services to patients. However, in all situations where a conflict of interest arises in the course of professional duties and activities, physicians should recognize the conflict, ensure that the patient’s best interests remain paramount and, where appropriate, disclose the conflict of interest to the patient. Physicians should also be aware of the possibility of damage to the reputation of the profession by the appearance of a conflict, even though an actual conflict may not exist, and avoid creating such a perception. 6. Advocating for Patients Advocacy is an important component of the doctorpatient relationship; physicians should, individually and collectively, advocate for their patients. Advocacy involves the responsible use of expertise and influence to advance patients’ health care interests. Individuals: The health care system is a complex network of care providers, services and benefits. To ensure that patients receive fair and efficient treatment by others involved in their care, physicians should use their knowledge of the system to assist their patients in successfully navigating this network. Communities and Populations: Physicians have a responsibility to advocate on behalf of their patients to advance policies that promote the health and well-being of the public. B. AS A MEMBER OF THE PROFESSION, COLLECTIVELY TO THE PUBLIC Principles of Practice That the values of compassion, service, altruism, and trustworthiness apply to the individual doctorpatient relationship is clear. Physicians have responsibilities to patients which, as noted earlier, are paramount. However, these values are also reflected in the individual physician’s responsibility to the profession of medicine, inasmuch as the medical profession works together to serve the public interest. Duties 1. Participating in Self-Regulation Physicians have been granted the privilege of selfregulation. Society allows physicians to regulate themselves in return for the covenant that this regulation will occur in the public interest. The social contract between the public and the profession places certain responsibilities on the physician as an individual, with respect to his or her colleagues and with respect to collective involvement for the best interests of patients and the community. Meeting these responsibilities requires efficient and appropriate governance and a reliable system of accountability. It is not enough for physicians to accept regulation. To ensure the continuity of self-regulation, each physician should, along with the College, participate in the self-regulatory process. The goal of regulation is to serve the public by ensuring the best quality care for patients in Ontario. Both the College and individual physicians have a responsibility to ensure quality care by continually improving skills and behaviour as well as responding to concerns around practice/behaviour. Welcome to the College – May 2016 15