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Medical Professionalism: supporting common values

What are the values and commitments to which our profession aspires? What are our obligations to patients, our medical colleagues and society? How do we define the ethical practice of medicine?

In 2017, the CMA began asking these questions, and talking to hundreds of members online and in person. Our goal was to develop a modern understanding of medical professionalism, reflecting physicians’ evolving roles and professional responsibilities.

There are three pillars to the CMA’s work on medical professionalism: the Charter of Shared Values, the Code of Ethics, and the Accountability Framework.

Each one relates to a different relationship, physician to physician, physician to patient, and physician to health systems.

The Charter of Shared Values is the first resource to be released, and it represents physicians’ commitment to each other.

Medical Professionalism Charter of Shared Values 

These are the words that articulate the values and commitments expressed in the Charter — words to which physicians can commit to promote trust and respect for each other, and within the profession.

Why does it matter?

We achieve success when we work, commit and believe together; when we share a set of common values, virtues and principles. The Charter can help strengthen physicians’ professional responsibilities, to support a unified profession.

Over the next year, the CMA is continuing its work on the two remaining pillars of its medical professionalism initiative.

The CMA’s Director of Ethics and Professional Affairs, the Chair of the CMA’s committee on Ethics and the Chair of the Code of Ethics Revision Task Force on the discussions around medical professionalism — Quebec City, August 2017

The Code of Ethics

The Code of Ethics turns 150 this year, created in the same year as the CMA. This revision will reaffirm the core values and commitments that underpin the medical profession, and articulate physicians’ professional responsibilities to patients, and to society. The Code is a guide to the ethical practice of medicine.

Accountability Framework

What are physicians accountable for as a commitment to the health care system? This new framework will serve to guide the development, implementation and management of accountability initiatives at the practice, regional, provincial, territorial and national levels.