SACCIA® is an acronym that abbreviates five evidence-based core competencies for safe interpersonal communication in healthcare. The letters stand for the terms "Sufficiency", "Accuracy", "Clarity", "Contextualization" and "Interpersonal Adaptation".

​These five core competencies for safe communication are defined as follows


Sufficiency assesses the extent to which participants convey, extract, and exchange a sufficient amount of information in order to arrive at a shared understanding.


Accuracy refers to the extent to which participants convey correct information, interpret information correctly, and utilize their communication with each other as a collaborative process to validate the accuracy of communicated contents.


Clarity assesses the extent to which verbal and nonverbal messages are expressed and interpreted clearly (i.e., unambiguously, not misleading or unorderly), and the extent to which participants utilize their interpersonal communication with each other to reduce perceived uncertainties.


Contextualization refers to the extent to which interpersonal communication is framed within the contextual circumstances that constitute barriers to a shared understanding in a given encounter. Communication is contextualized if it is sent, decoded, and dyadically exchanged in ways that directly address and neutralize these given contextual barriers. There are five different kinds of context: Functional (e.g. shared alignment of pursued communication objectives), relational (e.g. hierarchical status differences, relational history or conflict), chronological (e.g. timing, timeliness, point in time and duration for a given encounter), environmental (i.e. the physical setting of the conversation), and cultural (e.g. potentially differing rules and norms of the participants).


Interpersonal Adaptation assesses the extent to which participants recognize and adapt to implicitly (nonverbal) and explicitly (verbal) expressed needs and expectations of their conversational partner for the purpose of arriving at a shared understanding.

© Annegret F. Hannawa 2017

The five "SACCIA" terms emerged from a communication science analysis of hundreds of critical incident reports and narratives. They were identified as common deficient interpersonal processes that often cause and contribute to preventable patient harm and insufficient care. Thus, they represent an evidence-based set of core competencies for safe communication, which constitute the vehicle to patient care that is safe, efficient, timely, effective and patient-centered.

The interpersonal processes that are captured in the "SACCIA" acronym are considered "safe" because they lead to a shared understanding between all care participants. The accomplishment of a shared interpersonal understanding constitutes a core patient safety challenge across the globe. Therefore, successful healthcare provision requires a "SACCIA safe communication" praxis on behalf of all care participants in everyday healthcare encounters. 

Let us teach you how you can become...

...a SACCIA® safe communication clinician,

...a SACCIA® safe communication trainer so you can teach and supervise others, or

...a SACCIA® safe communication institution  so you can carry a quality label that conveys to your staff and patients that they are performing and receiving care in a safe communication culture.

In the next few months, we are also going to provide resources for SACCIA® safe communication patients and SACCIA® safe communication custodians, who accompany patients in their care so they can be active partners of a healthcare team that prioritizes patient safety as a quality standard.



​​​​​​  SACCIA 

Safe Communication