The 2016 Global Digital Health Forum: Planning for an Interactive and Engaging Event

On December 13-14, 2016, the Global Digital Health Forum, co-located at the 2016 Connected Health Conference, will take place at the Gaylord Conference Center in National Harbor just outside Washington, DC. Our theme this year is “Harnessing Digital Innovations” and plans for this years’ event are shaping up to offer participants many opportunities not only to hear about what is new and relevant in global digital health, but also to have the opportunity for a more hands-on experience learning more about implementation in action.  

Focus on interaction

In planning this year’s meeting, my fellow Global Digital Health Network co-chair, the Network Advisory Board, and I planned an event that allowed for more interaction and discussion among participants and digital health experts than in past years.  The call for presentations specified a request for innovative, interactive sessions - and the global digital health community did not disappoint.  

Throughout the two days, participants will have many opportunities to join and participate in a variety of different types of sessions including interactive workshops, panel presentations and fireside chats with experts. The Forum will feature a special Networking Reception “Appy Hour” to afford participants an opportunity to engage with some of the most innovative mobile applications being used to improve health in LMICs.  There will also be sessions targeted for novices of digital health - those who may be new to the field and would like to engage with experts for digital health mentoring - as well as expert-level discussion.

Our format is a change from the typical conference with not only a focus on interaction but a schedule that offers space for networking and knowledge sharing among all participants.  Especially important in the fast-evolving world of digital health, we need to have time to personally connect and allow for meaningful conversations.  This year’s event will feature time between sessions to re-connect, a Networking Happy Hour for all participants on the first night, and meeting space available for those who wish to have more time to engage with one another.

Alignment with the Principles of Digital Development

As much as we focused on planning an interactive event for this year’s forum, we also wanted to be sure presentations featured what is new, innovative and most relevant for today’s digital health implementation. This field has evolved and expanded drastically in the past few years.  Sessions feature useful data-driven approaches including human-centered design implementations, fewer pilots and more programs at scale and thorough methods for monitoring and evaluation to demonstrate digital impact on health outcomes.

All of the presentations and content also align with each the nine Principles for Digital Development.  Examples of thematic areas include: Open Approaches; Collaborate, Re-Use and Improve; Designing with the User; Data Driven Implementation and Scale and Sustainability.  Participants will be able not only to see how the principles are being applied to digital health implementation but also to learn about how to make their own digital health programs more inclusive and response to these “living” guidelines.

I cannot think of a better way to end 2016 than with all of the expected global digital health champions meeting to share, partner, and learn from one another.  I’m very excited to engage with fellow digital health colleagues at this year’s event and take part in a very meaningful and interactive few days.

Please join us by registering to participate in this year’s Forum. Register before end of September to receive a $100 discount!

I hope to see you there!

- Amanda BenDor, Co-Chair, Global Digital Health Network