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The International Hospital Federation is a global not-for-profit, non-governmental, membership organization.
How it started
June 1929 in Atlantic City, USA…
Representatives of the world’s hospital and health systems gathered for the first ever International Hospital Congress. Following a successful congress, the International Hospital Association was born to continue the group’s ambition – learning from each other to improve health service delivery.
After the Second World War, the organization was renamed the International Hospital Federation in 1947.
In 2011, the IHF’s Governing Council took the strategic decision to move the headquarters to Geneva, Switzerland, to strengthen relations with other global institutions and NGOs.
Representatives of the world's hospital and health systems gathered for the first ever International Hospital Congress. Following a successful congress, the International Hospital Association was born.
After the Second World War, the organization was renamed to the International Hospital Federation in 1947.
As early as 1948, the IHF entered into “official relations” with the World Health Organization and, since then, the two organizations have worked closely together on studies, projects, and public health seminars.
The first international study tours, organized independently of the World Hospital Congress, took place in 1950. This was also the year that the first News Bulletin was shared with all IHF members in both English and French.
Regional conferences were introduced in 1966, beginning in Europe, with others following in Manila, Mexico City, Dubai, Seoul, Bogota and Nairobi.
Special study visits started in 1978, focusing on specific subjects, such as volunteers in mental health, planning district health services, quality assurance, child health services, and primary care.
In 1985 the IHF Secretariat introduced computers to the office for the first time, massively reducing team time on congress registrations and preparation.
The IHF’s Governing Council took the strategic decision to move the headquarters to Geneva, Switzerland, to strengthen relations with other global institutions and NGOs.
The IHF Awards were launched in 2015 and are recognized around the world as the premier awards programme to honor hospitals and healthcare organizations.
The final edition of the IHF's World Hospitals and Health Services journal was published, The whole collection was archived.
The Geneva Sustainability Centre was established to support healthcare leaders around the world to develop and implement sustainability strategies.
The IHF Statement on Sustainability was approved by the General Assembly: a call to action to address climate change as an integral part of healthcare delivery.
What we do
We provide our members with a platform for knowledge exchange and networking with different actors in the health sector. Motivated by a shared commitment to well-managed hospitals, our members act together to improve the standard, quality, and level of healthcare service delivery.
Connect at the annual World Hospital Congress, virtual events, and study tours. Special interest groups focus on the key issues for today’s hospital managers. Annual IHF Awards recognize and share good practice.Find out more
Dedicated groups for association leaders, and women in leadership, a development programme for young executives, and a leadership competencies framework.Find out more
Outreach and partnerships
Advocacy and international collaborations help us to carry out our work more effectively and find creative solutions to support our members facing a variety of challenges.Find out more
Geneva Sustainability Centre
Driving net zero, climate resilient, and sustainable health systems: supporting hospitals to become leaders for sustainability in their communities.Find out more
Well-managed hospitals improve health outcomes for everyone, everywhere.
Our vision is a world of healthy communities served by well-managed hospitals and healthcare services, where individuals can reach their highest potential for health.
We connect healthcare leaders through international knowledge exchange and showcasing good practices. We support these leaders to excel with training and development. Through our members, we are the voice of hospitals on the global stage.
The IHF Strategic Plan 2023–2025 will guide the work of the IHF towards increased satisfaction of its members and a stronger voice for hospitals on the global stage ahead of the organization’s 100th anniversary.
2022 members' survey
• 86% of respondents either strongly agreed or agreed that the IHF is the voice of hospitals on the global stage.
• 95% agree or strongly agree that being a member of the IHF is valuable to their organization.
• In a ranking of our offerings, the most valued activities are the World Hospital Congress and knowledge-sharing events.
• 95% were likely or very likely to participate in IHF activities this year.
Activity Report 2022
Activity reports summarize our activities, projects, and events as well as outcomes from our collaboration with other international organizations and NGOs.
The IHF Activity Report 2022 celebrates the IHF’s growth and successes in delivering on our vision: healthy communities served by well-managed hospitals and healthcare services, where individuals can reach their highest potential for health.
Read on to learn about our performance, highlights, impact, and engagement in 2022. You’ll also find details of our leadership, membership, and the secretariat team.