In 2002, the Physician Charter on Medical Professionalism was published to provide physicians with guidance for decision making in a rapidly changing environment. Feedback from physicians indicated that they were unable to fully live up to the principles in the 2002 charter partly because of their employing or affiliated health care organizations. A multistakeholder group has developed a Charter on Professionalism for Health Care Organizations, which may provide more guidance than charters for individual disciplines, given the current structure of health care delivery systems.
This article contains the Charter on Professionalism for Health Care Organizations, as well as the process and rationale for its development. For hospitals and hospital systems to effectively care for patients, maintain a healthy workforce, and improve the health of populations, they must attend to the four domains addressed by the Charter: patient partnerships, organizational culture, community partnerships, and operations and business practices. Impacting the social determinants of health will require collaboration among health care organizations, government, and communities.
Transitioning to the model hospital described by the Charter will challenge historical roles and assumptions of both its leadership and staff. While the Charter is aspirational, it also outlines specific institutional behaviors that will benefit both patients and workers. Lastly, this article considers obstacles to implementing the Charter and explores avenues to facilitate its dissemination.
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