Call for Abstracts

44th World Hospital Congress Call for Abstracts



The World Hospital Congress of the International Hospital Federation (IHF) is a unique global forum that brings together leaders, executives and decision-makers of hospitals, health services, and healthcare organizations to discuss key drivers of national and international policy, management, financial trends and solutions. Through this forum multidisciplinary exchange of knowledge, expertise and experiences are facilitated, together with dialogue on best practices in leadership, management and service delivery aimed at improving the overall health and wellness of our patients and communities.

The 44th World Hospital Congress is being hosted by La Unió Catalana d’Hospitals (UCH) on 8-11 November 2021 as a hybrid event with the overarching theme “People on board: Transforming healthcare by blending agility, responsiveness, and resilience

The Congress was supposed to take place in November 2020 but in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, IHF and UCH have made the decision to postpone it. Nevertheless, the purpose of this Congress remains intact and moving it to 2021 provides us an enhanced opportunity to exchange knowledge and best practices on healthcare transformations driven by people, value and technology. Considering how the COVID-19 crisis has challenged healthcare organizations, we also have to discuss how these transformations contribute to the enhancement of responsiveness, flexibility and resilience of healthcare systems and hospitals.

Transformation requires holistic and coordinated efforts from everyone, focused on changing people’s needs and the need to transform healthcare in order to achieve valuable results in this interaction between people and their healthcare and social care system. The COVID crisis has taught us this and many more. Although amidst extremely hard times, healthcare and people have been able to face the crisis and adapt.

Through this 2nd Call for Abstracts open to IHF members and non-members, we want to discover projects and programs which demonstrate transformations that have been key to achieve agility, guarantee adequate responsiveness and improve the resilience of healthcare systems and hospitals. If you have a compelling presentation to share with the leaders of hospitals and healthcare service organizations from around the world, submit your abstract now.

As a hybrid event, all sessions will be live-streamed to virtual attendees in a dedicated event platform where they can also interact with fellow participants, presenters, exhibitors and sponsors. Presenters who are not able to travel to Barcelona can also present virtually.

The following are the sub-themes and topics of the Congress.

1.1 Artificial Intelligence for smart health and care.
Focus on experiences where AI has been key in managing the crisis and improving the responsiveness of the system. Experiences that show how AI helps when it comes to quick decision-making and sharing knowledge in times of uncertainties.  We are also interested in projects that address the ethical aspects of AI. Share how AI and big data is helping us to transform health and care in a better way to serve people.

1.2 Big accurate data: how it helps us.
A great deal of healthcare outcomes depends on our ability to retrieve and share patient data.  In this crisis, this has been decisive in many aspects of the healthcare response. We would like to discover projects that show the power of data and the knowledge we can get out of its management:  for making our systems more agile in their response to people’s needs.

1.3 How is digital health transforming the way health systems are run and healthcare is delivered.
One clear thing that everybody would agree on is that the crisis has fostered digital transformation for good. We have also seen its possibilities and settled limits and opportunities. Share your experience in implementing digital transformation in all its faces: mHealth, eHealth, IoT for smart health and care. What happens when technological change goes faster than cultural adaptation?

1.4 Glocalizationnew actors, new rules, global healthcare invaders in the local healthcare set
New actors, new rules: (GAFA Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon). Do they play a role in the healthcare market? Is the crisis fostering its role? How do they influence health care innovation? Do they have any influence in forcing the transformation model now that the COVID crisis has opened them a door?

2.1. Enabling the flexibility of organizations to adapt quickly to changes, addressing accelerated innovation adoption.
This crisis has been a crucial factor in this case. Share with the healthcare community your insights and experience. We also want to share experiences on how governance has to change to push transformation. The crisis has fostered transformation unexpectedly: jumping over the slow classical mechanisms of promoting innovation. What should we retain for a better future? How are public and private partnership roles accelerating healthcare transformation?

2.2. Key results that really matter: patients outcomes as the driver for better healthcare.
Transforming also means measuring differently. New ways of measuring outcomes, gaps in knowledge when everything speeds up. What have we learned and what must not be forgotten to improve the future?

2.3. Health and care sustainability supported by applied research and innovation adoption.
One important issue in this crisis is that research and innovation have been hit by the need to respond quickly. Research has been accelerated, with vaccines, for example, at an extraordinary speed never seen before, thanks to the collaboration and open information between scientists, public support and private funds. Something that seemed impossible suddenly became possible. Share your experience.

2.4. Global Healthcare, global mobility, global access: towards a liquid borderless healthcare system.
Breaking the walls, a hospital is a concept, not a building. The impact of the pandemic has shown that this is a key element to generate agility and responsiveness. Share with your peers your successful experiences that you developed in part due to the crisis.

3.1. How to put citizens at the center of health and care.
This is a long-desired situation, a long-awaited transformation. Now, does it seem possible? Explain your experience in transformations based on putting the patient at the system center. Share your experiences in empowering people to contribute to healthcare resilience and responsiveness.

3.2. Humanistic centered care.
More than ever, the crisis has made us face ethical issues and recognize that humanistic management improves performance. Share your best practices in management models that, based on ethical grounds, have demonstrated to be useful and fair in transforming healthcare. Supporting healthcare by supporting people, families, professionals, all of them involved in a hard and stressful situation.

3.3. Professionals leading transformations: the strength of professionals to promote transformation.
More than ever, in our recent period of history, it is so true that empowering the healthcare workforce is indispensable for healthcare services to succeed. What professional roles have changed due to the crisis, which ones will remain, which ones have to be re-evaluated? Have you analyzed how the crises helped us to redefine traditional roles? Do you have projects on working with patient-experience or in co-producing services with your patients? How much has it contributed to resilience?

3.4. From health management to ethical leadership.
How has the crisis fostered transformation in health management models? Have we learned something? Do you have examples showing the power of good governance in transforming healthcare? Share projects on how to innovate in managing people in a fast-evolving environment. What does it mean to lead in this tumultuous environment?

Submission of Abstracts

Hospital and healthcare executives and professionals who want to present their work, orally (10-minute or 5-minute presentation) or as a poster, are invited to submit an abstract to the Scientific Committee for consideration. Submitting an abstract gives you the chance to showcase your work and achievements to the international healthcare community. Accepted posters will also have a chance to compete in the best poster competition at the Congress.

Abstracts submitted for oral presentations but not accepted will be automatically considered for posters.

Important dates:
Open for abstract submission: 1 March 2021
Submission deadline: Extended to 30 April (23:59 UTC/GMT) 
Notification to accepted oral presentations: 18 June 
Notification to accepted posters: 30 June
Registration deadline: 31 July

Please carefully read the information below before submitting your abstract.

Submission Guidelines

  • All abstract submissions must be made electronically via the online submission website:
  • Click ‘Create Account’ in the menu if this is the first time you will be submitting an abstract.
  • Previously registered users may use the same login credentials.
  • Abstracts that have already been submitted to the World Hospital Congress in 2020 should not be re-submitted.
  • Abstracts sent by post or email will NOT be accepted.
  • The account user is the sole contact for all correspondences regarding the abstract review and accepts responsibility to share information with all other authors about its status.
  • The Congress language is English. All abstracts submitted must be in English.
  • Abstracts must be related to the overarching theme and at least one of the sub-themes listed above.
  • Abstracts submitted must follow the template: Download template
  • Up to 5 supporting documents may be uploaded together with the abstract but only Word, Powerpoint and PDF files are accepted. The total file size should not exceed 30MB.
  • The account user is responsible for submitting a correct abstract. Any errors in spelling, grammar or scientific fact will be reproduced as typed by the submitter. No proofreading will be done.
  • Abstracts can be saved in ‘DRAFT’ for re-editing and modification prior to submission. Only abstracts in ‘SUBMITTED’ status will be considered.
  • After the submission deadline, only changes requested by the Scientific Committee reviewer will be accepted.
  • All decisions by the Scientific Committee regarding the abstracts are final.


General criteria for the assessment of abstracts

  • Presents an experience and knowledge sharing opportunity for the global healthcare community.
  • Addresses major issues of importance according to the Congress overarching theme and at least one of the sub-themes.
  • Will be of practical benefit to an audience of decision-makers in charge of health service delivery organizations.
  • The findings presented will generate information that could be useful in advancing global health and healthcare.
  • Materials and methods are well presented and analyzed, with appropriate case studies.
  • Is not too clinically focused.


Financial support policy

  • No honorarium or financial support will be provided to authors for abstracts accepted.
  • Authors presenting at the Congress must register to participate by paying special discounted registration fees on or before 31 July 2021:

Oral presenters (40% discount on applicable rate)
Poster presenters (25% discount on applicable rate)


Presentation at the Congress

  • The author(s) of presentations and posters included in the Congress program provide IHF permission to publish the abstract, author details, posters and/or slides electronically and in other formats.
  • Non-registered presenters will have their presentation/poster withdrawn from the program.
  • Specific guidelines for the oral presentations and posters will be sent together with the abstract acceptance letter.
  • Any change of presenting author should be communicated in writing to It is the responsibility of the submitter or original presenter to ensure one of the co-authors takes over the role.
  • Accepted authors are responsible for any required visa applications.


Technical Requirements

  • Cookies and JavaScript must be enabled in order to submit an abstract.
  • The abstract submission website is compatible with current web browsers (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, Opera)

For inquiries please contact:
Patricia Mencias
Subject: Abstract submission