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Ethical Issues in Use of Crowdfunding to Finance Healthcare

Sear, Molly Catherine (2021) Ethical Issues in Use of Crowdfunding to Finance Healthcare. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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People are increasingly turning to crowdfunding to cover their medical expenses. Data from the most popular medical crowdfunding site, GoFundMe, indicate that there are over 250,000 campaigns launched per year to fund healthcare related costs and the annual dollars raised exceed $650 million. The ethical issues associated with medical crowdfunding are numerous and have been well described, but much of the literature provides an index of the ethical concerns citing the need for a closer examination of the problems. This paper provides an in-depth discussion of three areas of particular concern, namely: justice issues related to crowdfunding for healthcare; the impact of medical crowdfunding on patient/provider relationships and the informed consent process; and the effect of crowdfunding beyond the clinical context including issues of privacy, crowdfunding for pediatric patients, and patient overall well-being. This paper concludes that the problems that crowdfunding presents in the context of healthcare are neither unique nor entirely the result of crowdfunding. However, further empirical research is needed that will serve as the foundation for a more extensive ethical analysis of crowdfunding for healthcare and prompt efforts to develop mitigation measures, guidance for those using crowdfunding, regulatory measures governing crowdfunding platforms, or policy regarding healthcare institutions’ involvement in crowdfunding.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Sear, Molly Catherinemollysear@yahoo.commcs1460000-0002-7493-2885
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorParker, Lisa
Committee MemberSatkoske, Valerie
Committee MemberKappel,
Date: 8 October 2021
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 19 July 2021
Approval Date: 8 October 2021
Submission Date: 22 July 2021
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 67
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Bioethics
Degree: MA - Master of Arts
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: crowdfunding, ethics, medical crowdfunding, bioethics
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2021 18:51
Last Modified: 08 Oct 2021 18:51


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