The International Charter for Human Values in Healthcare: an interprofessional global collaboration to enhance values and communication in healthcare

Patient Educ Couns. 2014 Sep;96(3):273-80. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2014.06.017. Epub 2014 Jul 5.


Objectives: The human dimensions of healthcare--core values and skilled communication necessary for every healthcare interaction--are fundamental to compassionate, ethical, and safe relationship-centered care. The objectives of this paper are to: describe the development of the International Charter for Human Values in Healthcare which delineates core values, articulate the role of skilled communication in enacting these values, and provide examples showing translation of the Charter's values into action.

Methods: We describe development of the Charter using combined qualitative research methods and the international, interprofessional collaboration of institutions and individuals worldwide.

Results: We identified five fundamental categories of human values for every healthcare interaction--Compassion, Respect for Persons, Commitment to Integrity and Ethical Practice, Commitment to Excellence, and Justice in Healthcare--and delineated subvalues within each category. We have disseminated the Charter internationally and incorporated it into education/training. Diverse healthcare partners have joined in this work.

Conclusion: We chronicle the development and dissemination of the International Charter for Human Values in Healthcare, the role of skilled communication in demonstrating values, and provide examples of educational and clinical programs integrating these values.

Practice implications: The Charter identifies and promotes core values clinicians and educators can demonstrate through skilled communication and use to advance humanistic educational programs and practice.

Keywords: Communication skills; Compassion; Healthcare education; Human dimensions of care; International Charter for Human Values in Healthcare; Medical ethics; Physician-patient relationship; Professionalism; Relationship-centered care; Values.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Communication*
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Patient Care Team
  • Patient-Centered Care / methods*
  • Patient-Centered Care / organization & administration
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Social Values