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The Charter on Professionalism for Health Care Organizations

Egener, Barry E. MD; Mason, Diana J. RN, PhD; McDonald, Walter J. MD; Okun, Sally RN, MMHS; Gaines, Martha E. JD, LLM; Fleming, David A. MD, MA; Rosof, Bernie M. MD; Gullen, David MD; Andresen, May-Lynn RN, BSN

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000001561
Perspectives

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.

B.E. Egener is medical director, Foundation for Medical Excellence, Portland, Oregon.

D.J. Mason is codirector, Center for Health, Media & Policy, New York, New York.

W.J. McDonald is emeritus professor of medicine, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, Oregon, and senior vice president, QHC (Quality in Healthcare) Advisory Group, Huntington, New York.

S. Okun is vice president for advocacy, policy and patient safety, PatientsLikeMe, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts.

M.E. Gaines is distinguished clinical professor of law and director, Center for Patient Partnerships, University of Wisconsin Law School, Madison, Wisconsin.

D.A. Fleming is professor and chair of medicine and codirector, Center for Health Ethics, University of Missouri School of Medicine, Columbia, Missouri.

B.M. Rosof is professor of medicine, Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine, Hempstead, New York, and chief executive officer, QHC (Quality in Healthcare) Advisory Group, Huntington, New York.

D. Gullen is codirector, Communication in Healthcare Program, Mayo Clinic in Arizona, Scottsdale, Arizona.

M.-L. Andresen is vice president, QHC (Quality in Healthcare) Advisory Group, Huntington, New York.

Funding/Support: The following organizations provided funding for the Organizational Professionalism Charter Project: the Commonwealth Fund, the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation, North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System, the Federation of American Hospitals, and the American Hospital Association.

Other disclosures: None reported.

Ethical approval: Reported as not applicable.

Correspondence should be addressed to Barry E. Egener, 1 SW Columbia St. Suite 860, Portland, OR 97258; telephone: (503) 222-1960; e-mail: begener@tfme.org.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal.

© 2017 by the Association of American Medical Colleges