New Charter Calls on U.S. Healthcare Organizations to Create Cultures of Professionalism

Identification of new roles for an old concept for organizations aspiring to lead the evolution of health care

SEATTLE--()--A team of healthcare professionals, patients, and community advocates have created a new set of professionalism-based metrics for model hospitals and hospital systems in order to create more healing environments in hospitals, alleviate workforce burnout, and provide ethical guidelines for hospital operations. This new set of metrics, known as the ‘Charter on Professionalism for Healthcare Organizations,’ is being published in the January 11, 2017 online issue of Academic Medicine.

“I applaud the authors of the Charter on Professionalism for Healthcare Organizations for taking the lead on this endeavor, and encourage all in the healthcare community to strongly support these and other efforts that will transform our delivery system.”

The ‘Charter on Professionalism for Healthcare Organizations’ extends the professionalism principles articulated in the ‘Medical Professionalism in the New Millennium: A Physician Charter,’ published in a February 2002 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine. That Charter articulated ideals for individual physicians. Many physicians indicated in that charter challenges in fully embodying the principles of the charter because of inhibiting policies of healthcare organizations where they worked or were employed. The “Charter on Professionalism for Healthcare Organizations” espouses professionalism ideals for the healthcare structures where care is actually delivered.

The ‘Charter on Professionalism for Healthcare Organizations’ outlines aspirational behaviors within four domains:

1. Patient Partnership: By involving patients more fully in their care and in hospital strategies, a more patient-centered approach to healthcare can be achieved. Although patients clearly benefit from such partnerships, organizations can improve their performance and increase public trust.

2. Organizational Culture: Attention to the environment of the healthcare workforce can reduce burnout among all healthcare professionals, which now affects more than half of physicians. When healthcare workers’ wellbeing is cared for, they can in turn provide better care for patients.

3. Community Partnership: Population health requires collaboration among all the entities that can affect the social determinants of health: hospitals, government, and community organizations.

4. Operations and Business Practices: Ethical business practices improve access, the quality of patient care, and hospital financial performance.

“As healthcare organizations grapple with the growing crisis of provider burnout, it is becoming more evident that an organizational commitment is required to affect the real change that will lead to wellness. The four concepts outlined in the Charter on Professionalism for Healthcare Organizations, are critical in establishing a foundation for health systems and hospitals to help create an environment that allows our most important (and expensive) resource, our people, to partner with us to make real improvements,” said Lewis L. Low, MD, FCCM, FACP, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Legacy Health in Portland, Oregon.

The ‘Charter on Professionalism for Healthcare Organizations,’ which is published in the January 11, 2017 online issue of Academic Medicine, along with a background article explaining its rationale, was funded by the Commonwealth Fund, the ABIM Foundation, The American Hospital Association, the Federation of American Hospitals, and Northwell Health.

The authors of the charter acknowledge that transitioning to the model health care organization described in this charter will challenge historical roles and assumptions of both leadership and staff. Yet, they believe professionalism concepts can offer guidance for decision making in a fiscally difficult, rapidly changing, and ethically challenging environment, and that the resulting changes will benefit both patients and those that provide care for them.

"Only by engaging families, local community-based organizations, government leaders, healthcare providers and other stakeholders in a thoughtful, multi-faceted education, awareness and advocacy campaign can we achieve any measurable success in changing lifestyle behaviors and addressing the social determinants of health," said Michael J. Dowling, president and chief executive officer of Northwell Health in Great Neck, New York. "I applaud the authors of the Charter on Professionalism for Healthcare Organizations for taking the lead on this endeavor, and encourage all in the healthcare community to strongly support these and other efforts that will transform our delivery system."

Like the Physician Charter that came before it, the Charter on Professionalism for Healthcare Organizations seeks the endorsement of organized medicine: hospital systems, specialty societies, representatives of the healthcare professions.

The Foundation for Medical Excellence will remain the “home” of the charter project and invites health care across the United States to showcase efforts to implement Charter principles. Stellar projects will be recognized on an annual basis on the basis of objective criteria. Patients, healthcare workers, and organized medicine all stand to benefit from the Charter principles.

Located in Portland Oregon, The Foundation for Medical Excellence is a public non-profit foundation created in 1984 whose mission is to promote quality healthcare and sound health policy. To achieve its mission, The Foundation develops and presents a wide range of educational programs, and provides consulting services. The Foundation for Medical Excellence is online at www.tfme.org.

Contacts

Media:
Fazzina & Co. Communications Consulting
Leigh Fazzina, 215-821-7466
lfazzina@fazzinacommunications.com

Release Summary

New Charter Calls on U.S. Healthcare Organizations to Create Cultures of Professionalism

The Foundation for Medical Excellence