Healthcare leaders come together for the 44th World Hospital Congress

The 44th World Hospital Congress (WHC) starts today at the Fira Montjuïc conference centre, Barcelona (Spain), a year later than originally planned due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

For the first time, the WHC is fully hybrid, facilitating the participation of delegates from over 70 countries in the entire programme whether they attend in-person and virtually. The WHC is the premier event in the International Hospital Federation’s (IHF) calendar and their organizing partner and host for the 44th WHC is La Unió Catalana d’Hospitals (UCH).

For four 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. The 44th WHC features:

  • 70+ plenary and parallel sessions
  • 300+ speakers
  • 200+ posters
  • 60+ paper presentations
  • 60+ lightning talk presentations
  • 30+ exhibitors

The theme for this 44th WHC is “People on board: Transforming healthcare by blending agility, responsiveness, and resilience”. Dr Enric Mangas, President of the UCH and Chair of the Organizing Committee, underlined the importance of knowledge exchange between hospital leaders as they focus their efforts on building back from the pandemic:

“In Barcelona we have an outstanding opportunity to move forward together in improving healthcare. And we’ll do so with a firm commitment to people.

We propose a journey through all the opportunities offered by technology and knowledge, with an incursion in humanism, to ensure there is health and social care of value for everyone and anyone who needs it. And put in place learnings on how we can transform our healthcare services to be agile, responsive and resilient to meet people’s needs.”

In a packed, quality programme the highlights include:

    • Opening Ceremony (9:00 CET, 9 November): Dr Hans Kluge, Regional Director for Europe of the World Health Organization, will provide the keynote address.
    • Plenary 1 (11:00 CET, 9 November): Speakers including public health leaders and hospital CEOs in Europe and North America will exchange ideas on getting ready for the next global pandemic.
    • Plenary 2 (13:30 CET, 9 November): Key stakeholders from industry, governments and global public health will discuss the lessons to learn from accelerating research, development and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.
    • Plenary 3 (9:00 CET, 10 November): Leaders in nursing will share examples of their critical contribution to transforming healthcare during a worldwide pandemic.
    • Plenary 4 (13:30 CET, 10 November): A European-focused session, exploring ways to adopt, implement and scale up the organizational and technological innovations to come from the pandemic.
    • IHF Awards 2021 (18:00 CET, 10 November): The winners in each of six prestigious categories will be announced at a special ceremony.
    • Plenary 5 (08:30 CET, 11 November): Speakers from healthcare and industry will demonstrate the potential of technology to better humanize healthcare and deliver a more personable and dedicated patient experience.
    • Closing Plenary and Ceremony (14:00 CET, 11 November): Esteemed guests from WHO, Catalonia and Dubai will provide keynote addresses and formally hand over the Congress to Dubai Health Authority, the host in 2022.
    • Site visits: Tours of six of the most advanced hospitals and health institutions in Barcelona.

Deborah Bowen, FACHE, CAE, is president and Chief Executive Officer of the American College of Healthcare Executives Federation and will commence her role as President of the International Hospital Federation at the Closing Ceremony. Stressing the importance of the WHC as an opportunity to connect with peers, she said:

“The World Hospital Congress gives us the chance to reflect on our accomplishments and progress, learn from one another and better navigate what lies ahead.”

The 45th World Hospital Congress will take place in Dubai (UAE) on 9–11 November 2022.

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