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 the capacity for 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, countries, organizations and institutions around the world that are 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 is an initiative of the International Collaborative for Communication in Healthcare, established at Hong Kong Polytechnic University in March 2011. This initiative has led to the establishment of the International Centre for Communication in Healthcare at Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the University of Technology, Sydney Australia with over 50 members from over 10 countries around the world. 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 and Diana Slade, PhD 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. In November 2012, The Collaborative was formally established as the International Centre for Communication in Healthcare, at Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the University of Technology, Sydney Australia.
The International Charter for Human Values in Healthcare was created at our 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 creating the original Charter in Hong Kong, we’ve asked 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
© 2013 International Research Centre for Communication in Healthcare. © 2011-2012 International Collaborative for Communication in Healthcare. All rights reserved.