American Medical Association Code of Medical Ethics


A Code of ethics is significant in professionalism since it guides the professionals’ behaviors and conducts. Professionalism encompasses self-respect and respect for every person professionals encounter within their places of work. The American Medical Association (AMA), a lobbying group of physicians and medical students, is among the professional bodies with an extensive code of ethics. In summary, the AMA code of ethics guides the patient-physician relationship, professional-self regulation, and physicians and community health. Ethical issues like the exploitation of patients’ medical information are prevented and remedied by the code. Medical stakeholders use the code to build trust and foster thoughtful decisions by respecting patients’ privacy. A Code of ethics is beneficial to professionals and their clients. The AMA code of ethics has helped build conducive workplace culture by strengthening the relationship among the medical stakeholders.

AMA Code of Medical Ethics

Physicians are crucial for a country’s life expectancy and improved society’s well-being. Therefore, doctors’ skills and dedication are significant for saving human life, the most valuable asset. When executing their skills and knowledge, physicians may take advantage of their patients, risking their lives, information, and society’s well-being. The AMA was founded in 1847 to respond to the burgeoning need for reform in medical practice and education (Johnson & Green, 2021). The association adopted the AMA code of medical ethics to guide physicians and medical students during their interactions with patients and other stakeholders in the medical field. The code comprises the Principles of Medical Ethics and the Opinions of the AMA’s Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (American Medical Association, 2018). The code’s eleven chapters articulate professional values to which American physicians commit themselves.

AMA Code of Ethics Summary

Patient-Physician Relationship

Physicians are trained to serve patients’ medical needs and promote their health. Although patients voluntarily seek medication, there are implicit circumstances when the physicians do not get patients’ consent: when a patient needs emergency care or when the physician provides care at the patient’s caregiver’s request. Furthermore, physicians may provide care to prisoners under a court order. When interacting with patients, physicians are expected to place their welfare above their self-interest or obligations to others (American Medical Association, 2018). Physicians ought to treat their patients with care and respect, including not sharing their crucial medical information without their consent (American Medical Association, 2018). Chapter one of the code provides special issues in patient-physician relationships to promote quality health and trust.

Professional-Self Regulation

Professional-self regulation involves the various conduct standards that physicians should hold themselves with during the execution of their responsibilities. Physicians ought to maintain sexual boundaries with their patients. Sexual interactions encumber the treatment goal and may lead to patient exploitation and physicians’ ability to compromise, making objective judgments about the patient’s healthcare (Wertheimer, 2021). When physicians train others, they ought to instill ethical precepts, act fairly, and respect their trainees. Furthermore, self-regulation involves the promotion of personal wellness, quality healthcare, patient safety, and respect for other professionals. AMA code of medical ethics emphasizes professional-self regulation crucial for health promotion and human rights promotion.

Physicians and Health of Community

A community plays a significant role in the medical industry since it helps determine economic growth. While physicians’ primary role is promoting an individual’s life, the AMA code of medical ethics requires physicians to participate in public health. Physicians must balance between protecting an individual’s welfare and that of the public (American Medical Association, 2018). Chapter 8 of the code presents the various opinions on promoting public health: reporting adverse events, disaster & response preparedness, and routine universal HIV screening, among others (American Medical Association, 2018). Therefore, public health promotion is crucial for a safe working environment and quality of life among community members.

Ethical Issue: Sharing Patients’ Information

Physicians have access to their patient’s medical information and can use it for personal gain. Sharing patients’ information is regulated and must be done with a patient’s consent. Such information includes the patient’s HIV/AIDs status and other chronic illnesses. Persons with ill intentions may require such information to destroy the patient’s reputation or demean the patient. Therefore, physicians can be solicited to give such information. Patients’ consent is important when giving their medical information to third parties.

AMA Code of Medical Ethics Logical Decision Making

The AMA code of medical ethics prioritizes patients and protects them from exploitative activities. Chapter 1 of the code emphasizes physicians’ behaviors that promote the physician-patient relationship and build trust. Furthermore, chapter 3 of the code obliges physicians to respect patients’ privacy, including personal data. The various stakeholders can formulate regulations about patients’ privacy. Such regulations may include strict measures against the violation of patients’ information. The AMA code of medical ethics can be used to punish physicians who violate patients’ privacy and confidentiality.

Benefits of Code of Ethics


The Code of ethics encompasses the various professional regulations and standard conducts. Organizations adopt a code of ethics to enhance employee performance and avoid domestic and international law violations. For instance, the AMA code of medical ethics encourages the protection of patients’ privacy and confidentiality. The Bill of rights and international humanitarian law provide for privacy. Therefore, a code of ethics helps organizations comply with domestic and international laws.

Risk Mitigation

Organizational risks are assessed from individual employee performance and conduct. Employees without self-regulation risk an organizational reputation leading to a lack of public trust in the organization. The AMA code of medical ethics advocates for professional self-regulation that encourages moral behaviors among physicians (American Medical Association, 2018). Acts such as sexual exploitation and misappropriation of an organization’s funds lead to a bad reputation. Consequently, the organization may lose public trust crucial for business growth.

Effective Stakeholders’ Relationships

The core principle of the code of ethics is encouraging relationships among the organization’s stakeholders. The code helps nurture the friendly relationship between employees and clients and among the employees. For instance, physicians are encouraged to build trust among their patients (Shanafelt et al., 2021). Furthermore, professionalism is highly encouraged among physicians leading to effective business operations. Effective business operations significantly contribute to a conducive working environment for the stakeholders.

Constructive Social Change

Society is significant for the growth of different business organizations. Organizations’ corporate social responsibilities include identifying society’s needs and being part of societal change. A Code of ethics helps organizations take part in solving various societal problems. The AMA code of medical ethics provides for the promotion of public health through activities like disaster control and routine universal HIV/AIDs screening. Consequently, quality health, necessary for other social activities like education, is promoted.


The AMA code of medical ethics encourages certain standard behaviors among physicians. The code promotes ethical behavior among physicians, patients, and the community. Physicians are obliged to build trust between themselves and their patients. Unethical behaviors such as sexual exploitation and dissemination of patients’ information without their consent are discouraged. A Code of ethics is significant to organizations since they help in compliance, risk mitigation, and stakeholders’ effective relationship.


American Medical Association. (2018). Code of Medical Ethics overview. American Medical Association. Web.

Johnson, C. D., & Green, B. N. (2021). Looking back at the lawsuit that transformed the chiropractic profession part 2: rise of the American Medical Association. Journal of Chiropractic Education, 35(S1), 25-44.

Shanafelt, T., Trockel, M., Rodriguez, A., & Logan, D. (2021). Wellness-Centered Leadership: Equipping Health Care Leaders to Cultivate Physician Well-Being and Professional Fulfillment. Academic Medicine, 96(5), 641.

Wertheimer, A. (2021). CHAPTER SIX Sexual Exploitation in Psychotherapy. In exploitation 158-202. Princeton University Press.

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