National train-the-trainer certificate programme for improving healthcare communication in Austria

Autorinnen/Autoren: M. Sator, P. Holler, M. Rosenbaum

Erscheinungsjahr: 2021

Link: Article


  • In Austria, a national programme for improving healthcare communication was piloted.
  • Large-scale communication skills programmes can be guided by a structured approach.
  • The train-the-trainer approach used effectively improved participants’ skills.
  • Quality standards will guarantee high quality and consistency of the programme.
  • Lessons learned can contribute to others interested in implementing such programmes.


Objectives:  In Austria a national train-the-trainer programme (TTT) has been developed, implemented and evaluated with the aim of training and certifying participants for developing, implementing and delivering communication skills training (CST) for health professionals.


Methods: The programme included 5 in-person courses, application  homework with feedback, peer work, and regular trainer network meetings. Global satisfaction with training and changes in self-efficacy among TTT-participants and their learners in the CST delivered as practice projects were evaluated.


Results: 18 participants have graduated from the TTT-pilot. 98 people took part in the 9 CST delivered by TTT-participants. Participants’ satisfaction has been rated very positively both for TTT and CST. At post-programme/post-training, statistically significant improvement was observed in self-efficacy for the TTT-participants and for the CST-participants. Additionally, valuable suggestions for programme/training improvement were identified.


Conclusions: This programme is an important step to sustainably improving CST in Austria. To guarantee high quality and consistency, a set of standards for certification have been developed for TTT and CST.


Practice implications: Implementation of best practices in training trainers and communication skills teaching can be guided by a structured approach. Those wanting to implement similar programmes can benefit from strengths and suggestions for improvement identified in this national project.

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