EACH - in collaborative relations with WONCA

From Jonathan Silverman, President of the European Association of Communication in Healthcare (EACH)

The European Association of Communication in Healthcare (EACH) is delighted to have become an Organization in Collaborative Relations with WONCA and I’m very pleased to have this opportunity to tell you about EACH and explain how EACH could help WONCA members in the future.

Whether a researcher, teacher, practitioner or patient, or indeed all four, EACH exists to offer support and help about all matters concerning communication in healthcare. We would like everybody to consider EACH to be both the place where they turn to as their natural home and also the pressure group working to support all healthcare communication endeavours. Please visit our website at www.each.eu to look at what we can offer you and about membership of our association. Please also consider coming to our next international conference in Heidelberg www.each2016.de in September 2016 where we are expecting over 600 researchers and teachers from throughout the world. Also, see our website for details about our courses.

EACH is very much devoted to research and teaching about health care communication in all health care professions whereas we appreciate that WONCA is specifically dedicated to the needs of family doctors. Of course, much of the early research and teaching about communication skills in healthcare stems from general practice and indeed still does. Like so many fields in healthcare theory, research and teaching, whether communication, ethics, patient-centredness, reflection et cetera, general practice has often been in the vanguard of developments in areas that should be a component of every healthcare interaction, whatever the discipline. So clearly EACH owes general practice a considerable debt of gratitude. The future of health care communication is to extend the lessons of research and teaching into all healthcare professions and in all contexts as well as continuing the established work in family medicine.

What is EACH?

EACH is a worldwide charitable organisation and our overall aim is to promote effective evidence-based patient-centred healthcare communication between patients, relatives and healthcare practitioners throughout Europe and beyond. In fact despite our name, we have members throughout the world from Asia, North America, South America and Australia and a steering committee which has representatives from all these areas. We currently have 497 individual members from 39 countries and a steering group as pictured here of 26 people from throughout the world.

The rationale for all that we do is that effective healthcare communication is essential to high quality clinical practice. Almost all other objectives in healthcare are mediated through communication between health professionals, patients and relatives. The evidence-base behind effective healthcare communication and the move towards a person-centred approach incorporating shared responsibility and decision making is firmly established and adds to the moral imperative of a more equal relationship between patients and providers.

What we do

Our strategies for achieving our aim are as follows:
• promoting the development of healthcare communication research and education to improve the quality of communication in healthcare in Europe and beyond and hence improve the health outcomes of the general public

• enabling the exchange and dissemination of products of teaching and research within the community of healthcare communication researchers and teachers, to enhance the quality of communication in healthcare and thereby improve patients’ and relatives’ experience

• more widely disseminating knowledge about effective communication between patients, relatives and health professionals, extolling best practices and improvements in education to comply with the changing needs of health delivery and increasing moves towards a person-centred approach incorporating shared responsibility and decision making

• developing an active network of researchers, teachers and practitioners throughout Europe and beyond, committed to improving the patient experience in the field of communication in healthcare

How do we do this?

In order to put these strategies into practice, EACH:
• organises major international conferences on health care communication research and teaching to bring together the community of healthcare researchers, educators and practitioners

• provides workshops, courses and meetings on specific research and teaching components of healthcare communication for teachers and researchers

• develops and supports active networks of teachers and researchers through communication at meetings, via the internet, using web-based conferences, web-based solutions and social media

• provides a dedicated website to raise awareness and share related resources on teaching and research with the wider community of healthcare practitioners, researchers, teachers and patients

• collaborates with existing networks and associations, with similar purposes

• is affiliated with a scientific journal, Patient Education and Counselling, to disseminate results of research on health care communication

• provides grants for researchers and teachers in countries throughout Europe without established health care communication research or teaching programmes to attend courses

• provides grants for young researchers to attend workshops and develop networks

• carries out site visits to countries in Europe and beyond without established health care communication research and teaching programmes to establish networks, and train teachers and researchers

• promotes best practice in health care communication to other local and national organisations

The future

We are very much looking forward to working with WONCA over the coming years and would like to extend a very warm welcome to all of you to EACH. We hope to see you at our events and look forward to many of you becoming members of our association as well

Very best wishes

Jonathan Silverman