The Institute for Healthcare Communication (IHC) advances the quality of healthcare by optimizing the experience and process of healthcare communication.
We accomplish this by:
- Creating and disseminating innovative educational programs and services
- Advocating for the importance of communication as an essential aspect of healthcare
- Engaging in collaborative research on communication in healthcare
- Partnering with other leading organizations that share our vision
IHC services benefit:
- Hospitals, group practices and other healthcare organizations who want their patients to have better and more satisfying health outcomes by providing patient-centered care;
- Charitable foundations that wish to serve their communities by improving healthcare delivery to patients with diabetes and other chronic illnesses;
- Risk managers and medical malpractice insurers who want to lower the risk of lawsuits arising from poor communication between clinicians and patients (the single largest factor in newly filed actions);
- Healthcare researchers whose area of study involves clinicians who need to initiate new, novel, or unfamiliar topics with their patients;
- Clinicians and other healthcare professionals in human and veterinary medicine who recognize that patients/clients and clinicians are more satisfied when good communication guides the encounter.
Research evidence indicates that there are strong positive relationships between a healthcare team member’s communication skills and a patient’s capacity to follow through with medical recommendations, self-manage a chronic medical condition, and adopt preventive health behaviors. Studies show that the clinician’s ability to explain, listen and empathize can have a profound effect on biological and functional health outcomes as well as patient satisfaction and experience of care. Further, communication among healthcare team members influences the quality of working relationships, job satisfaction and has a profound impact on patient safety.
Clinicians and other members of the healthcare team conduct thousands of patient interactions during his or her career. Similar to other medical procedures, communication skills can be learned and improved upon. Improvement in communication skills requires commitment and practice. IHC’s evidence-based communication training provides extensive practice opportunity for all members of the healthcare team through the use of reflective exercises, video case examples, skills demonstrations and skills practice and use of simulated patients (actors portraying patients).
IHC is a publicly supported, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. IHC was originally established in 1987 as the Bayer Institute, through funding from Bayer Pharmaceuticals. Currently, IHC also receives grants to support specific projects, enters into contracts with various organizations to develop and implement communication improvement programs, and sells materials to organizations conducting its programs.
IHC’s highly interactive educational programs assist clinicians and other healthcare team members to enhance their communication, counseling and self-management support skills. Communication skills programs are based on a patient-centered model of care that emphasizes the value and impact of collaborative partnerships between clinicians and patients and family members.
IHC programs are disseminated using a faculty development model that provides faculty with advanced communication skills training as well as teaching and coaching skills.
Since 1987, IHC faculty have conducted more than 11,000 workshops for more than 180,000 clinicians and healthcare workers. Grants to research investigators have developed new knowledge about clinician-patient communication. The staff has published extensively and developed an impressive array of continuing education programs, including workshops and faculty development courses.
An independent board of directors and advisory council determines the policies and programs that guide IHC activities. In addition to IHC’s full time professional staff, a network of consultants and faculty members extends the work of IHC to every region of the United States and several other countries, including Canada, Australia, Pakistan, the United Kingdom, and East Africa.
- IHC has conducted more than 11,000 workshops reaching 180,000 physicians and healthcare professionals in the United States and Canada.
- IHC’s growing network of partners numbers more than 200 healthcare organizations. These include hospitals, medical schools, managed care companies, malpractice insurance companies, and national medical specialty societies.
- All full-time IHC staff members are seasoned professionals representing a wide range of health and human behavior disciplines, have written on clinician-patient communication for peer-reviewed journals, and are master teachers. In addition to the full-time staff, a network of cooperating consultants and faculty members extends the work of IHC to every state and province within North America. More than 1,200 faculty in human medicine and 300 faculty in veterinary medicine have been trained to teach IHC skill-based communication programs.
- Many medical societies and universities, including the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the Yale University School of Medicine, have adopted IHC programs.
- IHC is nationally accredited to provide continuing medical education and continuing nursing education by three major accreditation agencies (ACCME, AAFP, and ANCC).
- The staff of IHC conduct research on pertinent topics and conducts outcome studies in partnership with other organizations.
- Members of IHC’s staff, faculty, and Advisory Council have consulted with or made presentations to scores of medical schools, residency programs, hospitals, managed care organizations, government health entities, and professional societies.
- IHC’s activities have been featured in the medical trade press and in major media such as The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.