Crafting the Congress programme: A look behind the scenes

Every year the IHF, with a local hosting member, organizes the World Hospital Congress. This event brings together healthcare executives from across the globe to exchange, learn and discover. But have you ever wondered what it takes to build a strong programme, crafted to meet the continuous professional development and networking needs of today’s healthcare leaders?  Join us as we delve into the process of building a Congress programme that focuses on the most relevant and current issues. 

Setting the stage

The journey of crafting a compelling Congress programme begins long before the event itself. The first step is determining the tracks and topics of interest that will resonate with the audience. Input comes from the previous Congress, our members, the hosting member, and the Scientific Committee. 

The objective of the programme is twofold:  

  • to showcase the leadership and work of the IHF members;  
  • to foster an ideal environment for the exchange of ideas, with diverse and global perspectives on different issues.  

To guide the development of the programme, a Scientific Committee is created. With approximately 50 representatives from our members around the globe, this committee participates in the development of the tracks and topics of interest, advises as pertinent themes arise throughout the year, and proposes thought-leading speakers. Additionally, they review, and score submitted abstracts and posters, ensuring the highest standards of quality and relevance. 

Crafting the content and activities 

Once the stage has been set, we move on to the content. From pre-Congress activities, plenary sessions, and member sessions to abstract presentations – there is something for everyone. The programme is approximately 1/3 direct from our members, 1/3 from special interest groups or specific IHF activities or programmes, and 1/3 from the submitted abstracts. Let’s take a closer look… 

  • Pre- and post-Congress activities: These activities feature the Geneva Sustainability Centre, Young Executive Leaders, and other partner events or workshops. There are also visits o leading local hospitals and IHF governance meetings.  
  • Plenary sessions: For these sessions, we select content from the tracks, with oversight from the chair of the Scientific Committee. These plenary sessions take priority in the programme and kickstart each day of Congress as the most relevant to all attendees. 
  • Members’ sessions: These sessions provide specific opportunities for our members to present their good practices, innovations, and successful programmes to our global audience. We create panels of four experts from different regions or types of organization, giving us all the opportunity to learn from different global perspectives on common challenges. 
  • Special sessions: Throughout the programme, activities for our special interest groups and networks are planned by their various steering committees and sponsors. These include a Partners’ Workshop, and thematic sessions on Telehealth, Women in Leadership, Big Data, and Paediatric Rare Disease. Another special session showcases the gold-winning projects of the IHF Awards. The IHF member co-hosting the Congress also organizes a session where participants can learn about the healthcare system of the host country.
  • Abstract sessions: These sessions are formed from the “call for abstracts”. Which we send to the whole IHF network. This year we received almost 900 submissions! Each abstract is reviewed and scored by at least two members of the scientific committee. The top abstracts are selected and placed in panels on related topics.  

Also selected from the Call for Abstracts, around 300 posters are on display throughout Congress, allowing attendees to learn from and be inspired by hundreds of projects and programmes across the globe.

The excitement doesn’t end there. There is also the i-to-i Innovation Hub, which provides an opportunity for members and industry partners to showcase unique products, processes, or services that are addressing specific challenges in healthcare settings. And delegates also have the opportunity to visit a huge selection of poster presentations on display throughout the Congress, featuring submissions from the call for abstracts. 

Navigating logistics 

Last but not least, attention to logistics plays a crucial role in ensuring the success of the event. Behind the scenes, meticulous logistical planning ensures a seamless execution of the programme. From managing on-stage participation to ensuring geographically diverse and inclusive panels, every detail is thoughtfully considered. 

Throughout the year, we cultivate partnerships with sponsors and exhibitors, both international and local, to enrich the Congress experience. Regular networking breaks and events are strategically scheduled to facilitate meaningful engagement with delegates. Our Congress app and website also serve as invaluable tools, offering additional access and support to participants.  

Among the logistics, deadlines are crucial for submissions, reviews, and notifications. If there is a delay, there is a “domino” effect on other deadlines that must be met. We routinely follow up with our members to ensure they do not miss the opportunity to share their expertise and experience. 

Paying attention to sustainability practices 

With the help of the Geneva Sustainability Centre, we work with partners and suppliers to organize an environmentally sustainable Congress. By prioritizing sustainability, the Congress can act as an example to participants for ways to reduce the carbon footprint of events, providing a positive experience to visitors and preserving the local environment for its community.  

Book your place  

The World Hospital Congress is much more than just a gathering – it’s a celebration of collaboration and innovation. It’s a unique opportunity to showcase your organization and share the excellent work that you do but also an incredibly unique opportunity to network, and meet and learn from colleagues from around the world.  

As we prepare to meet in September, we invite healthcare leaders from across the globe to join us on this transformative journey. 

We look forward to seeing you in Rio!  

Written by:

Victoria Del Pozo

News & insights

Look into our latest...

Crafting the Congress programme: A look behind the scenes

Every year the IHF, with a local hosting member, organizes the World Hospital Congress. This event brings together healthcare executives...

World Health Day 2024

A call for equitable healthcare in the Western Pacific 7 April is World Health Day, and the theme for 2024...

Sharing the benefits and building capacity for sustainable healthcare in the US

With a growing body of research demonstrating both cost savings and enhanced employee engagement, leadership interest in environmental sustainability continues...

Geneva Sustainability Centre Activity Report 2023

Reflecting on two years of impact: Geneva Sustainability Centre Annual Report 2023 As the Geneva Sustainability Centre will soon celebrate...