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Obligation for transparency regarding treating physician credentials at academic health centres
  1. Paul J Martin,
  2. N James Skill,
  3. Leonidas G Koniaris
  1. Department of Surgery, Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Leonidas G Koniaris, Department of Surgery, Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA; lkoniari{at}


Academic health centres have historically treated patients with the most complex of diseases, served as training grounds to teach the next generations of physicians and fostered an innovative environment for research and discovery. The physicians who hold faculty positions at these institutions have long understood how these key academic goals are critical to serve their patient community effectively. Recent healthcare reforms, however, have led many academic health centres to recruit physicians without these same academic expectations and to partner with non-faculty physicians at other health systems. There has been limited transparency in regard to the expertise among the physicians and the academic faculty within these larger entities. Such lack of transparency may lead to confusion among patients regarding the qualifications of who is actually treating them. This could threaten the ethical principles of patient autonomy, benevolence and non-maleficence as patients risk making uninformed decisions that might lead to poorer outcomes. Furthermore, this lack of transparency unjustly devalues the achievements of physician faculty members as well as potentially the university they represent. In this paper, it is suggested that academic health centres have an obligation to foster total transparency regarding what if any role a physician has at a university or medical school when university or other academic monikers are used at a hospital.

  • applied and professional ethics
  • autonomy
  • health care economics
  • informed consent

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  • Contributors All the authors contributed to the idea, drafting the manuscript, editing and approval of the final manuscript.

  • Funding This study was funded by Eli Lilly Fund.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement There is no unpublished data from this study.