Policy Perspectives |

Physicians as Double Agents:  Maintaining Trust in an Era of Multiple Accountabilities

Stephen M. Shortell, PhD; Teresa M. Waters, PhD; Kenneth W. B. Clarke, MHA, MBA; Peter P. Budetti, MD, JD
JAMA. 1998;280(12):1102-1108. doi:10.1001/jama.280.12.1102.
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HISTORICALLY, a physician's primary, and arguably exclusive, responsibility has been to his or her patients. The Oath of Hippocrates taken by physicians across the nation calls for a physician to practice medicine and prescribe treatment for "the benefit of his or her patients and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous." More modern versions of this oath include references to purity of purpose and holiness of life, directing "every word and deed . . . solely to the welfare of these patients." Although some may argue that this oath is anachronistic and in need of revision, a physician's dedication to serving the needs of his or her patients has remained the "immutable bedrock of medical ethics."1

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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