Restoring Core Values: An International Charter for Human Values in Healthcare
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Background: The human dimensions of healthcare are fundamental to the practice of compassionate, safe, and ethical relationship-centered care. Attending to the human dimensions improves patient and clinician satisfaction, outcomes and quality of care; however, these dimensions have not received the emphasis necessary to make them central to every healthcare encounter. We established an international collaborative effort to identify and promote the human dimensions of care.
Objectives: a) To describe work to date on the International Charter for Human Values in Healthcare; b) To discuss translation of the Charter’s universal values into education, research, and practice.
Methods: An international working group of expert educators, clinicians, linguists, and researchers identified initial values that should be present in every healthcare interaction. The working group and four additional groups -- National Academies of Practice (NAP) USA, International Conference on Communication in Healthcare, Interprofessional Patient-Centered Care Conference, American Academy on Communication in Healthcare Forum -- identified values for all healthcare interactions and prioritized top values. The NAP group also prioritized top values for interprofessional interactions. Additional data was gathered via a Delphi process and 2 focus groups of Harvard Macy Institute scholars and faculty.
Results: Through iterative content analyses and consensus, we identified 5 categories of core human values that should be present in every healthcare interaction: Capacity for Compassion, Respect for Persons, Commitment to Integrity and Ethical Practice, Commitment to Excellence, and Justice in Healthcare. Through further consensus and Delphi methodology, we identified values within each category.
Conclusions: The International Charter for Human Values in Healthcare  is a cooperative effort to restore core human values to healthcare around the world. Major healthcare and education partners have joined this international effort. We are working to develop methods to translate the Charter’s universal values into education (teaching, assessment, curricula), research and practice.
The International Charter for Human Values in Healthcare. http://charterforhealthcarevalues.org
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