Professional autonomy in the health care system

Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 21 (5):477-491 (2000)
Professional autonomy interferes at a structural level with the variousaspects of the health care system. The health care systems that can bedistinguished all feature a specific design of professional autonomy,but experience their own governance problems. Empirical health caresystems in the West are a nationally coloured blend of ideal type healthcare systems. From a normative perspective, the optimal health caresystem should consist of elements of all the ideal types. A workableoptimum taking national values into account could be attained bygovernance structures that also introduce elements from other ideal typesystems. Thus a normative approach to medical practice guaranteeing anessential degree of professional autonomy for a relationship of trustbetween the patient and the physician, could be combined with anefficient and equitable allocation of health care resources.
Keywords medical practice  professional autonomy  health care systems  governance structures
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