The International Charter for Human Values in Healthcare
To restore the human dimensions of care – the universal core values that should be present in every healthcare interaction – to healthcare around the world. These fundamental values include Compassion, Respect for Persons, Commitment to Integrity and Ethical Practice, Commitment to Excellence, and Justice in Healthcare.
The International Charter for Human Values in Healthcare is a collaborative effort involving people, organizations and institutions around the world working together to restore core human values to healthcare. We believe that core human values, such as those listed above, are both essential and universal. They are fundamental values that underpin a relationship-centered approach, and can be embraced by healthcare systems around the world — across cultures, languages, professions and disciplines. They are indispensably present in every healthcare interaction.
We believe that placing emphasis on our core values will help to solve many problems in healthcare — ranging from excessive cost and profit to inadequate care for the less fortunate and the underserved. The Charter is meant to inspire a movement to improve care by restoring the primacy of human values, to place them at the center, and to make them the goal of every effort in healthcare. We are working to translate the Charter’s universal values into healthcare practice, education, and research.
The International Charter for Human Values in Healthcare was initiated in March 2011 in Hong Kong by a dedicated group of healthcare clinicians, educators, scholars, leaders and policy makers. Many additional individuals, patients and caregivers from around the world contributed to the Charter. We welcome your participation, and invite each of you to make a commitment to the Charter’s values and to participate in the Charter website.
We began as an international collaboration of experts in the field of communication and relationships in healthcare, meeting in 2010 in Boston, MA, USA. At that time, Elizabeth Rider, MSW, MD (Harvard University) and Diana Slade, PhD (University of Technology Sydney, Australia and Hong Kong Polytechnic University) decided to establish an international, cross-disciplinary collaborative of clinicians, educators, researchers, and healthcare leaders to explore the critical role of communication and relationships in healthcare. In 2011, this collaborative became the International Collaborative for Communication in Healthcare.
The International Charter for Human Values in Healthcare was initiated at our 1st International Roundtable and Symposium for Communication in Healthcare, convened by Diana Slade, PhD and Christian Matthiessen, PhD at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, in March of 2011. The Roundtable brought together invited healthcare leaders, practitioners, researchers, educators, and policymakers from different countries and cultures to explore healthcare communication and relationships in a number of different settings around the world. The aim was to was to identify ways of achieving compassionate, safe, high-quality, relationship-centered healthcare, and to further develop an international research network for sharing data and research findings, and for the design of international research projects to improve communication and relationships in healthcare.
Despite increasing awareness and hundreds of studies showing the importance of good communication and relationships in healthcare, compassion, caring and healing have diminished. As we worked together from our diverse cultures, languages, backgrounds and perspectives to discover why healthcare is losing its human dimensions, we found that medical communities across the world share core human values. We recognized these values, the human dimensions of care, as primary. We developed an ongoing process to define and share these values.
Since initiating the original Charter in Hong Kong, we’ve asked hundreds of healthcare practitioners, experts, leaders, and patients from multiple countries and cultures around the world the question: “What are the core human values that should be present in every healthcare interaction?” Seeking the input of diverse groups, we’ve presented, discussed, and added to our results at multiple healthcare conferences internationally. The International Charter for Human Values in Healthcare is a cooperative effort to restore core human values to healthcare relationships and systems around the world. The Charter is an evolving document. We invite everyone to share their input and to make the Charter their own.
Members of the Executive Committee, International Charter for Human Values in Healthcare Initiative,
and the Human Dimensions of Care Working Group of the International Collaborative
for Communication in Healthcare
© 2011 International Collaborative for Communication in Healthcare. All rights reserved.