Our Principles

Background

Politicians are proposing and enacting an unprecedented number of measures that inappropriately infringe on clinical practice and on the relationship between patients and their personal health care providers—including physicians, nurses, and allied health professionals who provide patient care in clinical settings. These measures improperly compromise medical professionalism, often without regard for established, evidence-based care guidelines.

Examples of political intrusion in the patient-provider relationship include:

  • Prohibiting providers from discussing with their patients risk factors that may affect their health, as recommended by evidence-based guidelines of care;
  • Requiring providers to give—and patients to receive—diagnostic tests or medical interventions that are contrary to clinical evidence, the provider’s professional judgment, or patient preferences; and
  • Laws limiting the information that providers can disclose to patients in patient care or mandating providers communicate information, the clinical relevance or content of which is not supported by scientific evidence or substantial public health concerns.

These challenges to the patient-provider relationship and to the agency of health care providers threaten evidence-based medicine, the delivery of quality care, and public health.

Guiding Principles

Our Coalition works to ensure that the following principles are followed in health care policy that may impact the patient-provider relationship or clinical encounter:

  • Providers should not be prohibited by law or regulation from discussing with or asking their patients about risk factors that evidence shows may negatively impact their health or from disclosing clinically relevant information to patients.
  • The information and care provided should be consistent with the best available medical evidence on clinical effectiveness and appropriateness and professional standards of care.
  • The information and care should be tailored to individual patient circumstances and allow for flexibility as to the most appropriate time, setting and means of delivering information and care, as determined by the provider and patient.
  • The information and care provided should facilitate shared decision-making between patients and their providers, based on the best medical evidence, the provider’s knowledge and clinical judgment, and patient values, beliefs, and preferences.

Our Coalition opposes government regulation or legislative action on the content of the clinical relationship between a patient and provider unless there is compelling scientific evidence of benefit to the patient, a substantial public health justification, or both, as supported by the scientific medical community.