A traditional ethic of medicine asserts that physicians have special obligations to individual patients with whom they have a clinical relationship. Professionalism requires that physicians uphold the best interests of patients while simultaneously insuring just use of health care resources.
Yet contemporary trends in US health care financing like bundled payments seem to threaten traditional conceptions of special obligations of individual physicians to individual patients; their population-based focus sets a tone emphasizing responsibilities of physicians working within organizations to groups of patients served by those organizations.
Likewise, while, population health has the potential to improve patient care and health outcomes for individual patients, specific population health activities may not be in every patient's best interest in every circumstance. This can create ethical tensions for individual physicians and other health care professionals practicing within health systems with population health strategies.