Posted on April 23, 2018

The World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH), an initiative of Qatar Foundation (QF), revealed the final two research topics that will form the core subjects of discussion at WISH 2018.

The topics were announced during a WISH global research forum attended by Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, Vice Chairperson and CEO of QF; Omran Al-Kuwari, Executive Director, CEO Office, QF; and local and international delegates. The initiative also launched Doha Healthcare week, which will take place for the first time this coming November.

Professor the Lord Darzi of Denham, Executive Chair of WISH, today announced that ‘data science and artificial Intelligence (AI) in healthcare’ and ‘the role of the private sector in healthcare’ will be the subjects of in-depth reports by two teams of experts in their fields. The reports will form the core of panel discussions by healthcare leaders who will convene at the Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha for WISH 2018 on November 13-14. The two topics will be explored, along with seven other subjects of discussion, by more than 2,000 global healthcare policy-makers, practitioners, and innovators at WISH 2018. The full list of confirmed topics includes eye health, viral hepatitis, nursing and universal health coverage, design in health, healthcare in conflict settings, anxiety and depression, Islamic ethics and palliative care, data science and artificial intelligence in healthcare, and the role of the private sector in healthcare.

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Lord Darzi made the announcement at Sidra Medicine, accompanied by Khalid Al Emadi, CEO of Qatar’s Al Ahli Hospital – who is contributing his expert Qatari perspective to the research being undertaken on the role of the private sector in healthcare; and Sultana Afdhal, CEO of WISH. Also present were Sir David Nicholson, who is leading the team investigating healthcare in the private sector; and Professor Aziz Sheikh, who is leading the team investigating data science and artificial intelligence in healthcare.

Lord Darzi said: “A key reason why our summits attract so many of the world’s healthcare policy-makers is that we’ve consistently been able to call upon exceptional experts to work with us to shape our detailed, evidence-based reports. For WISH 2018 our forum chairs and forum members, each of whom is recognized as a leader in their chosen field, are exploring nine diverse topics that deserve scrutiny and I’ve no doubt that their findings will deliver many fresh insights that will help shape health policy around the world for years to come.”

Sir David Nicholson said: “Populations around the world are living longer and using healthcare services more than ever before, which requires us to search for innovative ways to use private sector providers to complement often-overstretched government health systems. Our report aims to find examples of private healthcare sector best practice from around the world and to deliver recommendations that will help provide optimal patient-focused solutions that meet both existing and future needs.” Professor Aziz Sheikh said: “Health policy-makers and leaders who do not invest in data science are ignoring one of the most powerful toolsets available to help address the challenges of economic unsustainability, sub-optimal access and patient experience, and poor and variable outcomes. Data science and AI are rapidly disrupting many industries. In healthcare, we are just beginning to realize the possible opportunities that will transform service provision in the next decade.”

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In addition to announcing the two new WISH 2018 research topics, WISH also released details of the first Doha Healthcare Week, which will take place in the week leading up to WISH 2018. Doha Healthcare Week will feature a number of community-driven health-related initiatives and follows in the footsteps of Doha Learning Week, which was established by WISH’s sister initiative the World Innovation Summit for Education.

Commenting on Doha Healthcare Week, WISH’s CEO Sultana Afdhal said: “The inaugural WISH Doha Healthcare Week will feature a full program of activities that will include a film festival, thought-provoking talks, interactive workshops, sports activities, health check opportunities, and, above all, lots of opportunities to explore healthcare in an innovative and enjoyable way. We’re busy developing a diverse program that will allow us to engage with a wide range of participants and partner organizations, the details of which we will share in the coming months.”

WISH, which hosts its showcase Doha summit biennially, has quickly established itself as a major highlight of the global healthcare calendar for thousands of high-level policy-makers, academics, and professionals who attend. It has also become a key platform for the dissemination of healthcare innovation and best practices.