Journal 11, November 2002pages: 1091-1092
How to place medical ethics more firmly into medical practice continues to be a central concern of physician training and practice. One strategy is to make medical ethics an explicit focus of attention in the medical record. A separate section of the medical chart, one integral to clinical evaluations and ongoing progress notes, should be devised to articulate both the obvious and less apparent ethical issues pertinent to each patient. This so-called Ethical Concerns section is designed to proactively identify such problems and thereby raise these issues as part of routine evaluation and care. The historical developments and ethical challenges leading to the need for such a revision in record-keeping is reviewed.