46th World Hospital Congress opens with goal of “Global learning, local action”

Date:  25 October 2023

46th World Hospital Congress opens with goal of “Global learning, local action”

The 46th World Hospital Congress officially opened today under the High Patronage of the President of the Portuguese Republic. Over 1300 delegates from 89 countries gathered for the Congress, which takes place from 25 to 27 October in Lisbon, Portugal.

Deborah J. Bowen, IHF President and President and CEO of the American College of Healthcare Executives, welcomed the IHF’s international network to its 46th Congress and spoke of the strengths of collaboration:

“The theme of this Congress is ‘Global learning, local action’. I can think of no better way to describe the purpose and impact this community can provide. To learn from each other, global experts, and bring new ideas back home. Wherever home may be for each of us. The IHF is a global community, comprised of the many relationships we have forged with one another.”

Demonstrating the power of collaboration to drive excellence, Ms Bowen’s welcome was followed by representatives of the host country consortium who co-organized this year’s Congress. In a joint address, Carlos Pereira Alves (President of the Portuguese Association for Hospital Development), Xavier Barreto (President of the Portuguese Association of Hospital Managers) and Óscar Gaspar (President of the Portuguese Association of Private Hospitals) shared their pride in collaborating to bring the world’s healthcare community to Lisbon:

“[Carlos Pereira Alves] Organizing the Congress with two other hospital associations, as a consortium, was an essential condition for the success. Together we can. The Congress is the place for an active exchange of ideas and solutions to face the major changes of health services all around the world.

[Xavier Barreto] Each congress brings with it new learnings and opportunities, and this one will be no different. Portugal, with its rich history and tradition of innovation, is the perfect setting for this global gathering. Lisbon, with its blend of tradition and modernity, will be the ideal place for us to reflect on where we came from and where we want to go.

[Óscar Gaspa] Healthcare, and in particular the hospital environment, is a cluster. We operate in a complex environment in which, to better serve citizens, we have to optimize relations with healthcare professionals, authorities and regulators, researchers, the pharmaceutical industry, medical devices, IT, competitors, patient associations, etc.”

The Congress was then honoured by the presence of Dr Manuel Pizarro, Minister of Health of the Portuguese Republic, who formally opened the event with words of encouragement on the ability of the gathered leaders to transform health systems to meet growing need:

“It should always be with people in mind that we think and design healthcare systems… We have the same challenges to overcome. Today, we have aging populations with more chronic diseases. We have people who need more healthcare. We have more and better technology and innovation, and we are providing more and better healthcare… Healthcare reform involves significant changes, but also many of the measures that may seem small. Progress is made every day.”

As the Opening Ceremony concluded, attention turned to the changing landscape of healthcare delivery. In a keynote video address, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, spoke of the vital role of hospital management in achieving progress towards universal health coverage:

“A comprehensive primary care approach must include hospitals to deliver different services in integrated health systems and to support primary care providers in communities… Hospital managers have a critical role to play in making this transformation. Your leadership can drive the delivery of national health strategies, translating them into the policy and investment decisions in the hospitals you manage… We [WHO] remain committed to working with you to transform hospitals and health systems in pursuit of our founding vision: the highest attainable standard of health for all people.”

The World Hospital Congress is the premier event for global hospital and healthcare leaders. This year it takes place at the Lisbon Congress Centre, Portugal. Over three days, leaders and decision-makers in the healthcare community will share knowledge and good practices, exchange new ideas and innovations, and network with other senior executives. This year’s Congress features 46 plenary and parallel sessions; more than 200 renowned speakers; 300 poster presentations; industry exhibitors; the IHF Awards 2023 Ceremony and Gala Dinner; and guided hospital visits in Lisbon and the surrounding area.

This year, the IHF also unveiled a new addition to the knowledge exchange opportunities at Congress – the i-to-i Innovation Hub. The Hub spotlights cutting-edge tools and products from around the world that are already demonstrating a transformative impact on improving access and increasing the efficiency of sustainable, high-quality, patient-centred care. Congress delegates have the opportunity to network with the innovators to gain insights on their emerging technologies, and innovators will benefit from networking and exchanging with healthcare leaders.

The World Hospital Congress is hosted in different regions of the world. The IHF will organize the 47th World Hospital Congress in collaboration with the Brazilian Hospital Federation (FBH). It takes place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 10 to 12 September 2024.

Written by:

Katherine Bennett

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