We initiate strategic research teams and collaborations that calibrate quality- and safety-relevant knowledge from the fields of communication science and healthcare by theoretical integration, data-sharing, and data generation. We identify how both disciplines can jointly contribute measurable improvements to areas of medical practice where harmful human error is common, such as diagnosis, medication, team interactions, whistleblowing, handoffs, and disclosure.




Quality care

Our research assesses the role of interpersonal communication processes in the provision of high quality healthcare.

We investigate the extent to which communication science theory can contribute to improved quality measures.



 Insufficient shared understanding between care participants frequently leads to misuse, overuse, and unindicated use of medications. Our research investigates how safe communication can enhance medication safety, particularly with respect to sound-alike and look-alike medications, with a core focus on interprofessional teamwork and digitized care solutions.


 Our research examines communication processes that commonly contribute to preventable adverse events.

We evaluate the extent to which a communication science perspective can contribute to enhanced guidelines for safer care.



We assess ways in which communication science theory can enhance best practice guidelines for competent error disclosures.

Our aim is to develop an evidence-based, transdisciplinary definition of competent error disclosure that takes into account all stakeholders' perspectives, including perceptual variations between patients and providers.



Hannawa, A.F. (2019). When facing our fallibility constitutes “safe practice”: Further evidence for the Medical Error Disclosure Competence (MEDC) guidelines. Patient Education & Counseling.

Pek, J. H., de Korne, D. F., Hannawa, A. F., Hong Leong, B. S., et al. (2019). Dispatcher-assisted cardiopulmonary resuscitation for paediatric out-of-hospital cardiac arrest: A structured evaluation of communication issues using the SACCIA safe communication typology. Resuscitation, 139, pp. 144-151.

Amati, R., Bellandi, T., Kaissi, A. A. & Hannawa, A. F. (2019). Testing the Integrative Quality Care Assessment Tool (INQUAT): Comparing U.S. and Italian managers’ perceptions of quality. International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance. 

Amati, R., Kaissi, A. A., & Hannawa, A. F. (2018). Determinants of good and poor quality as perceived by U.S. health care managers: A grounded taxonomy based on evidence from narratives of care. Journal of Health Organization and Management.

Hannawa, A. F. & Postel, S. (2018). SACCIA-Sichere Kommunikation: Evidenzbasierte Kernkompetenzen mit Fallstudien aus der Pflege-Praxis. Berlin/Boston: Walter deGruyter.

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

Hannawa, A. F. (2018). "SACCIA Safe Communication:" Five core competencies for safe and high-quality care. Journal of Patient Safety and Risk Management, 23(3), 99-107.

Amati, R., Brook, R. H., Kaissi, A. A. & Hannawa, A. F. (2017). Evolving dimensions of quality care: Comparing physicians and managerial perspectives. In A. A. McDermott, M. Kitchener & M. Exworthy. Managing improvement in healthcare: Attaining, sustaining and spreading quality. Palgrave Macmillan.

Hannawa, A. F. (2017). What constitutes “Competent Error Disclosure”? Insights from a national focus group study in Switzerland. Swiss Medical Weekly, 147:w14427.

Hannawa, A. F. (2017). Validation. In J. Matthes, C. S. Davis & R. F. Potter, International encyclopedia of communication research methods. Wiley.

Hannawa, A. F. & Jonitz, G. (2017). Neue Wege für Patientensicherheit: Sichere Kommunikation -- Evidenzbasierte Kernkompetenzen mit Fallstudien aus der medizinischen Praxis. Berlin/Boston: Walter deGruyter.

Hannawa, A. F., Wendt, A., Day L. (2017). New horizons for patient safety: Safe communication -- Evidence-based core competencies with case studies from nursing. Berlin: Walter DeGruyter.

Hannawa, A. F., Wu, A., Juhasz, R. (2017). New horizons for patient safety: Understanding communication -- Case studies for physicians. Berlin: Walter DeGruyter.

Øvretveit, J., Wu, A., Street, R., Thilo, F., Thimbleby, H., Hannawa, A. F. (2017). Using and choosing digital health technologies: A communication science perspective. Journal of Health Organization and Management.

Roter, D. L., Wolff, J. L., Wu, A. W., & Hannawa, A. F. (2017). Patient and family empowerment as agents of ambulatory care safety and quality. BMJ Quality & Safety.

Hannawa, A. F., Shigemoto, Y., & Little, T. (2016). Medical errors: Disclosure styles, interpersonal forgiveness, and outcomes. Social Science & Medicine, 156, 29-38.

Hannawa, A. F., García-Jiménez, L., Candrian, C., Rossmann, C., & Schulz, P. J. (2015). Identifying the Field of Health Communication. Journal of Health Communication, 20, 521-530.

Amati, R., & Hannawa, A. F. (2015). Physician-perceived contradictions in end-of-life communication: Toward a self-report measurement scale. Health Communication, 30, 241-250.

Amati, R., & Hannawa, A. F. (2014). Relational Dialectics Theory: Disentangling the tensions of end-of-life communication. Health Communication, 29, 962-973.

Hannawa, A. F. (2014). Disclosing medical errors to patients: Effects of nonverbal involvement. Patient Education & Counseling, 94, 310-313.

Hannawa, A. F., Kreps, G., Schulz, P. J., Smith, S., & Street, R. (2014). Emerging issues and future directions in health communication. Health Communication, 29, 955-961.

Hannawa, A. F., & Roter, D. L. (2013). A diagnostic 'Tool for the Retrospective Analysis of Critical Events' (TRACE). Patient Education and Counseling, 93, 230-238.

Hannawa, A. F., Beckman, H., Mazor, K., Paul, N., & Ramsey, J. (2013). Building bridges: Future directions for medical error disclosure research. Patient Education and Counseling, 92, 319-327.

Hannawa, A. F. (2012). Principles of medical ethics: Implications for the disclosure of medical errors. Medicolegal and Bioethics, 2, 1-11.

Hannawa, A. F. (2012). "Explicitly implicit": Examining the importance of physician nonverbal involvement during error disclosures. Swiss Medical Weekly, 142, w13576.

Hannawa, A. F. (2011). Shedding light on the dark side of doctor-patient interactions: Verbal and nonverbal messages physicians communicate during error disclosures. Patient Education and Counseling, 84, 344-351.

Hannawa, A. F. (2009). Negotiating medical virtues: Toward the development of a Physician Mistake Disclosure (PMD) model. Health Communication, 24, 391-399.