The first IEEE Healthcare Summit took place on 4-7 October, 2021, with the aim of highlighting progress in integrating AI and BHI to combat pandemics.

The first annual IEEE Healthcare Summit was a virtual event held on 4-7 October 2021, that aimed at reporting progress made in the fight against COVID-19, and in better preparations for future pandemics, through the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) methods and tools with Biomedical and Health Informatics (BHI).

The Summit’s scientific program featured 13 keynotes (5 women, 8 men), 30 plenary talks, 4 lunch panels with 12 panelists, a best poster competition, and a hackathon competition with 6 COVID-19 datasets.

International speakers and delegates from around the world, representing not only the engineering community but also the public health and medical communities, came together and provided a comprehensive picture of the avalanche of new digital services and data-driven approaches that has emerged to aid pandemic response, as COVID-19 began spreading around the world. Panelists from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the European Commission stressed that COVID-19 significantly accelerated the digital healthcare transformation. All of the distinguished panel speakers discussed how real-world data and AI/ML have contributed in augmenting scientific understanding of COVID-19 and building a coordinated response to this pandemic.

Issues related to data and trustworthiness of AI were pointed out and discussed in multiple sessions towards developing fair and inclusive AI systems. The possibility to share information within and between hospitals and not working within sylos was mentioned as a key issue that should be addressed. Also, an urgent need for interventions towards behavioral change and incentive-aligned approaches was identified.