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Hospice and Palliative Care:
Ethical Marketing Practices
NHPCO ETHICS COMMITTEE
APRIL 2012
Context
 Healthcare Industry’s Ethical Standards
 Pharmaceutical Industry’s statement *
 Continued growth of hospice and palliative care
 Need to “self-regulate”: National and local levels
 Hospice and palliative care has been respected entity within
the healthcare system
Johnston, M., et. al., PhRMA Revises Voluntary Code on Interactions with
Healthcare Professionals. K&L Gates LLP, November, 2008
NHPCO Ethics Committee
 Responsible to lead and contribute to national and
local discussions
 Recommend industry standards and expectations for
its membership
 Has basis in its NHPCO Ethical Principles (2006)
and NHPCO Mission Statement (2010)
Goals
 To reinforce the need for ethical practices which will
ensure trust and support among those being served
 Define marketing standards and practices that are
consistent with hospice and palliative care industry
values
 Be catalyst for candid discussions that result in
strengthening hospice and palliative care’s place in
healthcare
Key Sections
 Access to Care

Goal: Universal availability

Marketing is grounded in education

Barriers to access
Key Sections
 Competition

Positive affects: higher quality; greater access

“Pitfalls”: Overpromising; inducements
Key Sections
 Customer Service Excellence and Boundaries

Trust

Federal and state regulatory compliance

Excellent customer service=best marketing tool
Key Sections
 Hospice and Palliative Care Providers as Referral
Sources

Awareness of legal and ethical implications of making referrals
and conducting business with others

Need for clearly stated policies
Key Sections
 New Trends in Marketing and Communication

Developing rapidly

Privacy

Clearly stated policies
Key Sections
 Traditional Media Marketing

Evidence based claims

Use of patient/family images and stories

Respect for confidentiality, privacy and overall well being of
those being served
Other Issues Addressed
 Hospital Liaisons
 Admission Processes/Incentives
 Informed Consent
 Utilization of Levels of Care
 Nursing Home/Hospice Relationships
Ethical Decision Making
 Marketing Strategy is Evaluated in Four Domains
 Consistency with National Standards
 Service Excellence
 Impact on Patient Care
 Contextual Elements
Adapted from: Jonsen, et. al., Clinical Ethics, Fifth Edition, 2002
Consistency with National Standards
 Compliant with legal and regulatory requirements
 Consistent with American Marketing Association
code of ethics
 Consistent with NHPCO Ethical Principles
Service Excellence
 Accurate descriptions of available services
 Clear communication of parameters and limitations
of services provided
 Qualitative data to support claims
Impact on Patient Care
•
•
•
•
Increase understanding of hospice and palliative care
Provide accurate information for consumers to make sound
decisions about their treatment
Improve access to care
Ultimately result in excellent patient care
Contextual Elements
•
•
•
Reflects positively on your organization and the industry
Reflects your agency’s and NHPCO’s mission and values
Have the support of all levels of the organization
Summary
“NHPCO’s stated position provides guidance on ethical
practices as we market end of life care services and
respond to the marketing efforts of other providers.
It is also intended to be a catalyst for dialogue within
and among organizations…a dialogue that will support
ethical standards of practice…”
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