The ISCOME Workgroup promotes the conduct and implementation of interdisciplinary communication research to create safer, higher quality healthcare world wide. With its workgroup program, ISCOME activates diverse international, cutting-edge research teams that gather at ISCOME to investigate and advance current communication-prone topics in healthcare quality and patient safety with an approach that is:

  • Transdisciplinary

  • Evidence-based

  • Collaborative

  • Multicultural

  • Multi-level

  • Global

ISCOME Workgroup Manifesto

The failure to establish effective and appropriate interpersonal communication in the delivery of healthcare is a leading cause of patient harm and loss of life. Thus, communication can be considered the ultimate mediating mechanism of patient safety and quality. Communication is also the ultimate moderator of the association between health goals and health outcomes, and a direct and unique predictor of positive patient outcomes. A high quality communication environment activates effective linkages between goals and outcomes while ineffective communication undermines and deteriorates health and wellbeing. ISCOME is a global center that generates and supports transdisciplinary and international workgroup teams of innovative scientists, policy-makers, and front-line experts who are committed to communication-based research and solutions that lower rates of adverse events and improve quality. ISCOME is dedicated to increasing awareness of these critical linkages between communication science and patient safety and quality by translating evidence and axioms from communication science to health care, enhancing the research agenda, developing tools for providers, managers and quality improvement practitioners, and ultimately informing policy.

ISCOME Workgroup Publications

The efforts of the ISCOME Workgroup have generated numerous outputs, including journal articles, funded international collaborations, and interdisciplinary books.

Journal articles:

  • "It matters what I think, not what you say": Scientific Evidence for a Medical Error Disclosure Competence (MEDC) Model. Hannawa, A. F. & Frankel, R. Journal of Patient Safety (2018).

  • "Using and choosing digital health technologies: a communications science perspective." Authors: Ovretveit J, Street R, Thimbleby H, Thilo F, Hannawa AF. J Health Organ Manag. (2017, see

  • "Patient and family empowerment as agents of ambulatory care safety and Quality." Roter DL, Wolff J, Wu A, Hannawa AF. BMJ Quality & Safety (2017,

  • “Medical error disclosure, interpersonal forgiveness, and outcomes”, Authors: Hannawa AF, Shigemoto Y, Little TD, Journal: Social Science & Medicine (2016, see

  • Open-access special issue: „Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Medical Error“, Journal of Public Health Research (2013), accessible here.


  • Textbook for medicine: „New horizons for patient safety: Understanding Communication -- Case Studies for Physicians." Authors: Annegret F. Hannawa, A. Wu, R. Juhasz. Foreword by Sir Liam Donaldson. 2017.

  • Textbook for nursing: "New horizons for patient safety: Safe Communication -- Evidence-based core competencies with case studies from nursing. Authors: Annegret F. Hannawa, A. Wendt, L. Day. Foreword by Pat Benner. 2017.

Funded projects:

  • Project title: “Toward an interdisciplinary conceptualization of medical error disclosure competence (MEDC)”, Methods: Focus groups and social scientific experiments; Funded by: Swiss National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator: A. F. Hannawa).

Photo: ISCOME 2016 Workgroup Meeting at the Lilienberg Congress Center in Switzerland

Photo: ISCOME 2016 Workgroup Meeting at the Lilienberg Congress Center in Switzerland