Should physicians discuss politics with patients? Here's what the AMA says

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With midterm elections on the horizon and healthcare politics in the headlines, physicians should consider their role in discussing politics with patients.

With this in mind, AMA Wire published an excerpt from its Code of Medical Ethics to refresh patients on its guidance. The AMA encourages physicians to be involved in politics as private citizens, but warns them to exercise caution when expressing views to patients and to avoid political conversations during the clinical encounter.

However, if politics do come up during a visit or outside of the clinical encounter, the AMA provides the following guidance.

  • Consider the patient's comfort and willingness to discuss the topic
  • Discuss politics in context, when talking about social, civic or recreational activities is appropriate
  • Avoid political discussions when medical circumstances put emotional pressure on patients
  • Stay informed of proposed and needed healthcare reforms related to access, quality, medical research and public health
  • Advocate for patient needs

 

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