Ethical Model for Ethical Decision Making (McGonigle and Mastrian, 2009)

The authors discussed this model to outline a process for making ethical decisions. Every avenue must be explored and the risks and benefits must be weighed in order to decrease or prevent any harm to the people involved. With the rest of the information in this presentation, one might use the Ethical Model for Ethical Decision Making to decide if EHRs are the right choice for the population that is served through its implementation.

Examine the ethical dilemma

  • Comprehensively understand both sides of the ethical dilemma by collecting as much information as possible. Understand what needs to be decided and who the key players in the decision should be and what their views on the issue are. Examine these views and implement a plan of action that achieves the greatest good.

Thoroughly comprehend the possible alternatives

  • Brainstorm all possible alternatives available and the consequences of these decisions. Automatically rule out any alternatives that have rules that make it impossible to achieve. For all other scenarios, weigh out the best and worst case possible outcomes and decide if the risk of potential benefit outweighs any harm that could come to anyone involved.

Hypothesize ethical arguments

  • Decide which of the five approaches apply to this situation and if any of the moral principles identified will support decisions that have been done in similar circumstances. 

Investigate, compare, and evaluate the arguments for each alternative

  • Ensure that any ambiguous information is addressed and that all arguments have been explored. Rate the significance of the ethical reasoning for each choice.
    • 4 = extreme significance
    • 3 = major significance
    • 2 = significant
    • 1 = minor significance
  • Relate each of these outcomes to the values of the key players and decide which one provides the greatest good or the least harm.
  • Decide if your professional code ethical conduct supports your decision.

Choose your recommendation
  • Make a decision about the best alternative and reflect on the inclusion of the considerations of all of the key players. Look at your decision with a critical eye and try to predict what opponents might have to say.

Act on your choice
  • Implement the choice you have made. Make sure you account for all required resources to execute this plan

Look at the ethical dilemma and examine the outcomes while reflecting on the ethical decision
  • Always go back and analyze your plan and the outcome to ensure it is accomplishing what you intended. Review as necessary.