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Journal of the Academy of Hospital Administration

Website of the International Hospital Federation (IHF)

Author(s): Surfed and Reviewed by: Rajiv Kumar Jain*

Vol. 14, No. 2 (2002-07 - 2002-12)

The leading international centre for the cross-fertilization of ideas in health care policy, finance and management between nations, the IHF is an independent, non-political organization with members in over one hundred countries. Through international conferences, field study and management training courses, information services, publications and research projects, the IHF aims to improve the health status of people worldwide. The IHF is the successor to the International Hospital Association, which was established in 1929 after the first International Hospital Congress in Atlantic City, USA. Briefly suspended during the Second World War, the Association was revived in 1947 under the presidency of the late Dr Rene Sand of Belgium. Constituted under the Civil Code of Switzerland, the Secretariat has been based in London since 1947. Maintaining a close collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), the IHF has been represented at a number of WHO meetings in different parts of the world. In addition, the IHF has good working relationships with a number of other international organizations, including: the International Council of Nurses, the Public Health Group of the International Union of Architects, the Association of University Programmes in Health Administration, the European Health Care Management Association, the World Medical Association, The World Federation for Mental Health and the Hospital Committee of the European Community

For information of the readers who are not familiar with the functioning of IHF following information shall be useful: The IHF organizes the following events: Every two years it organizes an International Hospital Congress - the largest world conference on hospitals and health service management, embracing health policy, economics, facility design and construction issues; A Pan-regional conference is held once every two years to discuss major health care issues; A Field Study Course is organized once or twice a year to gain an in-depth view of the health care system in one or more selected cities; it arranges a biennial World Health Forum in which world experts in Health Care, Medicine, Management, Economics and Policy Studies gather to examine and propose solutions to problems of health care delivery around the world and a Senior Managers Course is arranged - in conjunction with the University of Birmingham - for senior hospital and service managers from developing countries and countries of Central and Eastern Europe. In addition, it provides: fellowships to scholars from Asia and Africa to study the provision of health care facilities in different settings and chapters within its membership structure of the Federation to cater for the needs of members with interests in specific areas within the health care field. Two such chapters exist to date: the University Hospitals and Group Purchasing.

The Website of IHF is full of information for the National hospital associations and ministries of health; hospitals and other institutions directly connected with the provision of health care; individuals in any of the health care professions and companies engaged in supplying goods and services to the health care industry. The information is provided in a user friendly format. Icing on the cake is all the areas in the Website are free. You just need to register. And the registration is free. You just have to follow the following procedure after clicking on the registration section:

  1. Please input your details. For title and country, please choose from the drop down menu.
  2. Please click in the [yes] box if you are already a registered member of the IHF, If you are not, but would like to join or find out more about the benefits of joining, once you have completed this form, please go to the IHF homepage. 3) Username - please enter the name that you wish to use as a log-in name for
  3. Password - please choose a password of no more than 15 characters, using any combination of letters and numbers.
  4. Confirm password - please enter your password again.
  5. Password hint - please supply a word or phrase that will remind you of your password should you forget it.

The Website has been divided into following areas: IHF Section (About the IHF, Who's Who, Membership, Publications, Events, Chapter and Group, Bulletin Board, Contact Us); Company A-Z; Products and Services (Communications and Telemedicine; Diagnostics and Analysis, Electro Medical Treatment Systems, Facilities and Furniture, Hospital Information Systems, Implants and Fixation Devices, Laboratory Equipment, Medical and Surgical Disposables, Medical Clothing, Medical Imaging and Diagnostics, Medical Recruitment, Patient Monitoring, Pharmaceuticals and Medicines, Pre-owned Medical Equipment and Distribution, Rehabilitation and Mobility, Sterilization, Surgical and Electrosurgical Equipment, Woundcare and Dressings); Hospital Managers' Informer (Informer Breakthroughs, Technology Informer, Management Informer, Informer Statistics, Informer Learning, Informer Library and Product Review) ; Diary; Contact Book; My Hospital Info; Site Map and FAQ. And this is just an overview. I am sure when you visit the website you would not like to get up. It can become an addiction.

The section 'Diary' has all the details and links to all conceivable meetings, seminars, workshops and Conferences and that too in well organized format i.e. month and year wise. You can plan your programme upto July 2004! 'Remind me ' feature in this section is specially useful. It reminds you of the coming event as per you interest. The section 'Hospital Managers' informer' keeps you updated on the most significant and notable developments in the field of Hospital Administration. The section 'Products and Services' gives a detailed information on the required product or service. The products covered are quite wide and varied so that the section is really useful. Wherever required links are provided to directly go the website of the manufacturer or dealer. You can list your hospital's services in the section 'My Hospital Info'.

Overall a website that no hospital administrator can afford not to visit occasionally if not frequently. For the students of Hospital Administration information on fellowships and scholarships is also available. For procurement of medical equipments the website has useful features like company search, tender, enquiry and RFQ. For those who are interested in becoming a member of the IHF website provides online membership facility. Website also gives an overview of IHF publications like World Hospitals and Health Services, (the official journal, published three times a year. The scholarly articles contained within it deal with every aspect of health care); Hospitals International (quarterly newsletter); Hospital Management International (Yearbook 1) (contains a major section on technology and clinical procedure assessment in the form of consensus reports from around the world, in addition to a broad range of health management issues.) and New World Health (Yearbook 2) ( the essential reference source for medical professionals in the developing countries, maintaining an effective liaison between healthcare professionals and healthcare solution providers.).

Do visit this website on your home/office computer. If that is not possible take some time off to the nearest cybercafe. Happy netsurfing!

* Deputy Chief Medical Director, Indian Railways Medical Services, New Delhi, India.
For correspondence:
480, Sector 37, Faridabad 121 003, Haryana, India.
E-mail: [email protected] and [email protected].

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