The International Hospital Federation (IHF) is the successor to the International Hospital Association, which was established in 1929 after the first International Hospital Congress in Atlantic City, USA. The Association ceased to function during the Second World War, but was revived-with a new title-in 1947 by some of the pre-war members, under the presidency of the late Dr René Sand of Belgium. It is constituted under the Civil Code of Switzerland. The Secretariat which since 1947 was based in London, moved in November 2002 to Ferney Voltaire, France (Greater Geneva Area).

The International Hospital Federation is the global association of healthcare organizations, which includes in particular, but not exclusively, hospital associations and representative bodies as well as their members and other health care related organizations. The character of the IHF is that of an independent, not for profit, non-governmental organization.

As the worldwide body for hospitals and health care organizations it develops and maintains a spirit of cooperation and communication among them, with the primary goal of improving the health of society. More specifically, the role of the IHF is to help international hospitals work towards improving the level of the services they deliver to the population regardless of that population’s ability to pay. The IHF recognizes the essential role of hospitals and health care organizations in providing health care, supporting health services and offering education. The IHF is a unique arena for all major hospital and health care associations to cooperate to act upon their critical concerns.

IHF also owns a company, World Hospital (WH) which is dedicated to supporting IHF’s goals through collaborative events, publications, and projects.