May 25, 2009

Memphis hospital educating via Web casts

A Methodist University Hospital official says the Memphis medical facility is offering Web casts of live surgeries to help educate the general public.

Methodist marketing director Jill Fazakerly said the online operation videos, which typically are marketed via infomercials and advertisements in newspapers, also represents a way for the facility to find new patients, The New York Times said Monday.

The goal is to further our reputation as well as to educate the community, who will ask their physicians about our care, Fazakerly said.

With other hospitals nationwide embracing similar unconventional practices to educate and attract the general public, at least one ethicist has questioned the potential fallout from such marketing tools.

Jeffrey P. Kahn, a University of Minnesota bioethicist, told the Times some hospital marketing efforts may suggest a level of care that does not truly exist at the medical facility.

Do we really want to treat healthcare like other consumer goods? Kahn asked.