Three Fundamental Principles set the stage for the heart of the charter, a set of commitments. One of the three principles, the principle of primacy of patient welfare, dates from ancient times. Another, the principle of patient autonomy, has a more recent history. Only in the later part of the past century have people begun to view the physician as an advisor, often one of many, to an autonomous patient. According to this view, the center of patient care is not in the physician's office or the hospital. It is where people live their lives, in the home and the workplace. There, patients make the daily choices that determine their health. The principle of social justice is the last of the three principles. It calls upon the profession to promote a fair distribution of health care resources.