What is bioethics?
Bioethics is about the values each of us bring—as a patient, family member, clinician, administrator, scientist, policymaker, or citizen—to our experience of health and the health system. It is also about what to do when our values conflict, whose values matter in a decision, or how to make a decision if there is uncertainty or more than one possible ‘right answer’.
Bioethics is a rapidly evolving field in a complex and changing health environment. More than just an area of study, bioethics is concerned with finding practical answers to difficult value-based questions.
Some of these questions are:
- How can patient wishes and values be honoured in treatment decisions, including at the end of life?
- What priorities can be set in allocating limited resources to meet patient and population health needs when not all needs can be met?
- What are our obligations as global citizens for the health of our planet?
- What are the ethical implications for health and social wellbeing of an increasingly digitized world?
Bioethics draws from a range of different academic disciplines to address these health challenges of the 21st century, and we are uniquely positioned as bioethics experts to get to the root of some of these thorny questions.