Ethical Reasoning in Health Priority-Setting

Animated Presentations of Recurring Dilemmas

Discussion of each of these dilemmas can easily expand to two hours or more
Needs almost always exceed resources in health systems, and those who allocation these resources must set priorities.  In many cases, these decisions require ethical judgments, and decision-makers have a responsibility to think these through as carefully as possible.

This series of animations present a small number of dilemmas that are components of health priority-setting decisions in a wide variety of contexts. Just as a well-controlled laboratory experiment seeks to identify the effect of an intervention by keeping all other factors constant, our animations present highly simplified (and therefore unrealistic) dilemmas that isolate and focus attention on a single ethical choice. The presentations are non-directive and audience responses to the dilemmas are never uniform. Discussion of each of these dilemmas can easily expand to two hours or more. Our hope is that by identifying the ethical elements of health priority-setting, by careful consideration of opposing proposed solutions, and by attention to the arguments offered for and against these alternatives, decision-makers will be enabled to make priority-setting decisions that are not compromised by insufficient ethical reflection.

These animations are the first of a much longer series, and are offered as illustrations of how these dilemmas might be presented as a teaching tool. With further development, the animations will be lengthened to include proposed solutions and some of the argumentation that can help in deciding between them.