The nature of healthcare is such that a greater degree of discretion is required than may be the case in other areas of public relations and marketing. Therefore, the ethics of a communicator should be more stringent than might be expected of those who practice public relations and marketing for other institutions and organizations.

If public relations and marketing in healthcare is to achieve the status it seeks in relationship to other professions, then it is imperative that those who practice in the field(s) adhere as closely as possible to this code.

  1. The objective of all healthcare institutions is the welfare of the patient. Therefore, all privileged information will be held in confidence unless the patient or the patient’s family consents to the release of information.
  2. The healthcare public relations or marketing practitioner must, in his or her total conduct, exhibit professionalism which is in keeping with the overall degree of integrity expected of all healthcare personnel, and which reflects favorably on his or her professional competence.
  3. The healthcare public relations and marketing practitioner must be aware of the role of his/her facility/client in enhancing the health of those entrusting their care to the respective institutions and should, therefore, cooperate with other healthcare organizations to expand and promote this role.
  4. In all instances, the healthcare public relations and marketing practitioner will present information that maintains the highest standards of accuracy and good taste. Information must be presented without exaggeration and must not be presented in an incomplete manner or with misleading implications. Because of the nature of healthcare, the member is obligated to use extraordinary care in this area.
  5. The practitioner must not seek advantage by use of unfavorable information about other institutions.
  6. The individual must conduct himself or herself in a manner which will preserve the integrity of the public relations and marketing professions in the community