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HomeFeb 15-29, 2024Salient features included 80 professional workshops, 50 scientific sessions with interactive plenary...

Salient features included 80 professional workshops, 50 scientific sessions with interactive plenary discussions

More than 220 distinguished speakers shared their Knowledge and
expertise with the participants It focused on Technology-driven

healthcare, Collaborative Partnership & Re-inventing healthcare

LAHORE: The Eight Day, ICON 2024 seventh biennial conference organized by the Indus Hospital & Health Network (IHHN) which commenced from January 20 2024, highlighted the medical care system across the different facilities of IHHN in Pakistan including Karachi, Lahore, and Muzaffargarh. It had focus on plenary and scientific sessions, workshops and oral presentations. Eminent academicians and healthcare professionals shared their knowledge and experience with the participants. With drastically changing dynamics, the theme for ICON 2024 focused on “Game-changing solutions within the healthcare sector”. As part of its multidimensional approach, the summit touched upon three pivotal factors i.e. Technology-driven healthcare, Collaborative Partnership and Re-inventing healthcare.

Inaugural Ceremony

The inaugural ceremony of ICON 2024 took place at The Indus Hospital, Jubilee Town Campus on Saturday, January 20, 2024 at Lahore. With a vision to make Pakistan a healthier nation, IHHN’s flagship biennial conference ICON 2024 focused on ‘Game Changing Solutions in Healthcare’. It provided a vital platform for healthcare visionaries and experts to come together and share the best of medical research and practice. The event consisted on eighty professional workshops and 50 plus diverse scientific sessions with interactive plenary discussions to discuss challenges and explore opportunities and solutions to improve the healthcare service delivery in Pakistan. The scientific sessions, workshops and discussion were held from January 20-28, 2024, in Lahore, Badin, Muzaffargarh, and Karachi.

Mian Muhammad Ahsan, Member Board of Directors IHHN presenting shield to Muhammad Baligh-Ur- Rehman, Governor of Punjab during inaugural ceremony
of ICON 2024 took place at The Indus Hospital, Jubilee Town Campus Lahore on January 20, 2024. Picture also shows Dr. Abdul Bari Khan, President of IHHN,
Dr. Zafar Zaidi, CEO, IHHN and others.

The inaugural Ceremony was well-attended by the medical community of Lahore and surrounding regions. Several key figures from IHHN were also present including Dr. Abdul Bari Khan, President; Dr. Zafar Zaidi, CEO; Dr. Tasman A. Ibne Rasa, CEO North-IHHN; and Dr. Shamvil Ashraf, Medical Director.

Dr. Abdul Bari Khan, President of IHHN addressing the participants welcomed all healthcare professionals, medical students, allied and ancillary healthcare partners, and health, science & research enthusiasts to ICON 2024. He hoped that it will be a vital platform for the participants to explore cutting-edge advancements and transformative ideas revolutionizing the healthcare industry and how they can be contextually adopted in Pakistan.”

 Dr. Abdul Bari Khan and Dr. Saima Ali speaking during inaugural
ceremony of ICON 2024 held at The Indus Hospital, Jubilee
Town Campus Lahore on January 20, 2024.

Dr. Saima Ali, Chair of ICON 2024, and Head of Department – Emergency Services, IHHN, in her welcome address said that for the first time, this flagship conference has helped them to celebrate the scholarly work and research at Indus. It has been a wonderful experience to bring our teams to work together.

Dr. Tasman also spoke on this occasion and said that they were honoured to be part of ICON 24, for the first time at the Jubilee Campus, IHHN. It has provided them an excellent opportunity to be part of a scientific program put together by their team bringing together the best medical and scientific minds in Indus, Lahore and beyond!”

The Governor of Punjab, addressing the participants commended the efforts of organizers of ICON 2024 conference and everyone involved, “Though Indus’ story he said, began in Karachi, the Network has had a very close association with the province of Punjab for 10 years now. Apart from managing and helping build capacity of various public-sector hospitals in Lahore, Indus is also present in far-flung areas of Punjab – providing healthcare to some of our most vulnerable and disenfranchised communities. He extended his sincere gratitude and acknowledged the collaborative efforts of all the organizers, leaders, experts and guests of ICON 2024.

ICON Workshops

The Indus Hospital and Health Network orchestrated a remarkable series of nearly a hundred workshops spanning across Karachi, Lahore, and Muzaffargarh, as a part of ICON- Game changing solutions in healthcare. The workshops, a testament to the commitment of Indus Hospital towards advancing healthcare, garnered immense attention from professionals and enthusiasts alike.

The ICON workshops featured a lineup of distinguished speakers, recognized for their expertise in various facets of healthcare. Eminent personalities from clinical, administrative and teaching faculties, as well as influential figures from healthcare graced these events with their insightful perspectives. Their presence added immense value, bringing forth a wealth of knowledge and experience to the participants.

Participation in these workshops was not limited to a specific region; instead, healthcare professionals and enthusiasts from all corners of Pakistan converged to engage with the game-changing solutions presented by ICON workshops. The diversity of attendees contributed to a rich exchange of ideas and experiences, fostering a collaborative atmosphere that transcended geographical boundaries. These workshops were accredited by Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS), further validating the quality and relevance of the content presented.

Scientific & Plenary Sessions

Day-Two of ICON2024 witnessed the successful launch of Scientific & Plenary Sessions in Muzaffargarh, hosted at Recep Tayyip Erdogan Hospital (RTEH). The participants explored cutting-edge medical research and news, all centered around this year’s theme: ‘Game Changing Solutions in Healthcare.’ Accredited by the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan and the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education, the sessions boasted the expertise of professionals from across Pakistan and beyond.

With over nine diverse scientific sessions scheduled for day two, participant’s discussed how to enhance conventional medical systems and approach to treatment. Topics covered included Road to Resuscitation, Point of Care Testing, Recent Advances in Obstetrics & Gynecology, Neonatology, Medical Retina; Diabetes Mellitus – Unlocking the Secrets of Management, General Surgery and Surgical Oncology Practices.

Dr. Zafar Zaidi CEO, IHHN presenting shield to Mr. Abdul Karim Piracha, Chairman,
Board of Directors IHHN during concluding session of ICON 2024 held at Karachi.

Two interactive plenary discussions highlighted the crucial role of technology-driven healthcare and innovative solutions in discovering advancements and solutions to current roadblocks in access to healthcare. Topics discussed included Transformative Paths in Healthcare: From Game-Changers to AI Excellence, Information Technology as an integral part of healthcare, and the leveraging of data to improve healthcare or business ventures using artificial intelligence.

These sessions reflected ICON 2024’s ongoing mission — bringing together healthcare visionaries and experts to tackle overarching themes and share solutions to healthcare challenges in Pakistan and beyond. Day Three & Four of ICON’s scientific sessions and plenary discussions took place in Karachi from January 27- 28, 2024.

Game changing solutions in Medical Education

Dr. Syeda Kauser Ali from Jinnah Sindh Medical University was the first speaker in this session. held on 27th January 2024 at a Local Hotel in Karachi. She discussed in detail advantages and disadvantages of AI technology. One has to learn how to use it, enhance learning experience and personalized education. She pointed out that we have to face challenges like digital divide, digital literacy and skills gap, quality of contents and gap. Screens time has to be balanced, confidentiality is very important. Readiness is very important for the developers, implementers, policy makers, academic leadership, faculty and students, she remarked. Training of faculty and student usages policies for appropriate and ethical use, implementation of copyright and intellectual property rights, validation of contents, developing critical thinking skills besides resource allocation at government and institutional level was the way forward to get benefit of this latest technology she further added.

Dr. Naveed Yousuf from Aga Khan University speaking at the occasion said that the traditional technology, smart and intelligent system and virtual universe are the game changing solutions. Correct assessment of tool, multiple assessments, coverage, relevance, standardization objectivity, feasibility and stakeholder’s readiness are the key components for game changing solutions.

Dr. Fahad Azam from Shifa Tameer-e-Millat University Islamabad discussed integrating ethical practices in modern medical education for the post ChatGPT era. He was of the view that we need to collaborate with different people and regulatory bodies. We all have responsibility to make sure everyone including company’s governments and researchers develop AI with diversity in mind. Pakistan has drafted MOITT National AI Policy and seeks to form Policy Committee he stated.

Dr. Abida Shaheen also from Shifa Tameer-e-Millat University Islamabad in her talk stated that precision education is an approach to teaching and learning aiming to personalize education for each student while recording valuing and responding to learner’s differences. A systematic approach integrating longitudinal data and analytics for precise educational interventions. Highlights of precision medical education consist of proactive, personalized, participatory and predictive. E-Learning and telemedicine are our future and we have to adopt it, he added.

Group photograph of ICON 2024 Core Committee taken after concluding
session of ICON 2024 held at a local Hotel in Karachi on January 28, 2024
shows from ( L to R ) are Mr. Naveed Ahmed, Dr. Muhammad Shamvil Ashraf,
Dr. Saima Saeed, Dr. Muhammad Amin Chinoy, Dr. Saima Ali,
Dr. Ashar Alam and Dr. Muhammad Fareeduddin.

A panel discussion was also part of this session. Prof. Shamas Nadeem also joined as panelist besides speakers of this session. Dr. Lubna Baig who moderated the session informed the participants that AI Committee has been formed and its 1st meeting was held in Karachi and four more sessions will be held and policy guidelines will be presented to PM&DC. Conference on AI is also being planned in Lahore she added. We are scare of technology, we have to take it as a challenge, Ethical concern is the main issue, if honesty and integrity is followed we can progress. Other participants pointed out that Machines cannot over take human and the new developments should be carefully used as supplements.

Plenary Session

Dr. Amir Kazi moderated the Plenary session. Prof. Josephine from HONG Kong talked about Healthcare advances in Pakistan and Beyond Artificial intelligence in Hand Surgery. Technologies believed to change the way people doing their job in coming few years. AI has already changed the way orthopedic surgical procedures are being performed with the use of Robotics and 5G for robotic surgery. Artificial Intelligence (A) she said was important because it analyses more and deeper data using neural network that had many hidden layers. It needs lot of data to train deep learning models. AI achieves incredible accuracy through deep neural network and gets the most information out of the data. When algorithms are self-learning, the data itself is an asset, answers are in the data. Digitalization of healthcare data can be very useful because the more data that can be collected, the more accurate the predictions by AI will be.

Prof. Josephine said that AI provides personalized medicine, assist imaging reading, act as life coach, reminding patients to take medications, exercise and proper diet. AI is already commonly used in diagnosis and imaging, AI algorithms can analyze medical images, like X- rays, MRI and CT Scan, help identify fractures, tumors, arthritis with high accuracy besides enabling faster and more precise diagnosis. AI Augment and support healthcare professionals, improve outcome, more efficient workflows, enhance decision making but human contact cannot be replaced by Robot, she concluded.

Dr. Sara Saeed Khurram, CEO Sehat Kahani highlighted the success story of Sehat Kahani which created global revolution. Sehat Kahani is a telemedicine platform that connects patients in need of quality care to online doctors via affordable, convenient and easily accessible technology based healthcare solutions.

Maryam Mustafa from (LUMS) Lahore highlighted the role of technology in Pakistan’s healthcare evolution. Only 6% of women have more than secondary school education and 78% have no education. Fifty percent women own mobile phones compared to 81% men. Maternal mortality rate in Pakistan is 178 per hundred thousand deaths as compared to the developed countries which has an average of 12 deaths per hundred thousand. Pakistan will not be able to meet the target for the next 26 years. Delay in reaching care, in seeking care and delay in receiving care were the major issues involved in this pathetic situation, she added.

Plenary session on AI in Healthcare: Potential Pitfalls in Pakistan was moderated by Dr. Saima Mukhtar. Dr. Ishrat Jabeen from NUST pointed out that AI and knowledge discovery is extraction of implicit previously known and potentially useful information and knowledge. It helps to design and development of algorithms and techniques that allow computers to learn. Local pitfalls of AI in healthcare include Data Governance, algorithm robustness and stakeholders consunces.

AZra Naseem from Aga Khan University talking about health professional’s education in the age of AI informed that AI is available since 1955. AI consists of three types Narrow AI (weak AI), Artificial General Intelligence (strong AI) and Artificial supper intelligence. We should know the basic functions of AI and how to use AI applications, apply AI knowledge, concepts and applications in different scenarios, evaluate and create AI for higher order thinking skill like appraise, predict, design with AI applications. She concluded her presentation with a quotation of George Bernard Shaw” Imagination is the beginning of creation, you imagine what you desire, you will get what you imagine and at last you create what you will”.

Prof. Atta-Ur-Rehman, a well-known Pakistani scientist specializing in organic chemistry who served as the Chairman of the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan was the last speaker of the conference. Talking about the role of AI in health he said that Artificial Intelligence helps in selection of correct individually customized treatment path and data management is widely used application of AI and digital automation. IBM’s Watson AI recommends same treatment as doctors in 99% of cancer cases. In 99% of the cases Watson was able to recommend treatment plans that matched actual suggestions from oncologists. Watson also found that human doctors missed treatment options in 30% of cases. AI is being used for drug development, a new class of antibiotics was discovered by scientists at MIT/Havard University using AI which was effective against methicilin resistant staphylococcus aureus, vancomycin-resistant enterococci some of the most stubbornly hard to kill pathogens. With the help of AI body scan can spot cancer vascular disease early and predict the health issues people might face based on their genetics Prof, Atta-Ur-Rehman added.

Concluding Session

ICON 2024 closing ceremony was held on January 28, 2024, at a local hotel in Karachi. Mr. Abdul Karim Paracha, Chairman, Board of Directors, IHHN, was the chief guest. Mr. Prem Bahadur Chand, Chief Field Officer, UNICEF – Karachi, graced the occasion as Guest of Honor. Dr. Sama Mukhtar and Dr. Asif Qazi welcomed the participants, providing insights into the scale and impact of ICON 2024. The event was well-attended by the medical community of Karachi and surrounding regions. Shields of appreciation were distributed among the main organizers as a token of appreciation for their hard work and dedication.
Dr. Saima Ali, Chair, ICON 2024 and Head of Department – Emergency Services, IHHN thanked everyone in attendance for their outstanding efforts in successfully conducting the ICON 2024 conference. So many people have worked hard and from every quarter of Indus Hospital and Health Network, we wish to acknowledge all their efforts”. The sessions showcased distinguished speakers renowned for their expertise, bringing together clinical, administrative, and teaching faculties, alongside influential figures from healthcare, she added.

ICON 2024, themed ‘Game Changing Solutions in Healthcare, she said aimed to contribute to making Pakistan a healthier nation. Drawing over 2,787 participants, ICON 2024 facilitated powerful academic discourse through 80 professional workshops and 50 scientific sessions with interactive plenary discussions. The conference featured more than 220 distinguished speakers who shared their expertise with a diverse audience comprising healthcare professionals, medical students, and health & allied partners.

Mr. Abdul Karim Paracha, described how ICON 2024 also represents IHHN’s commitment to making a positive difference in communities. “Indus Hospital and Health Network, he stated continues to go from strength to strength. ICON24 is the culmination of its best asset, that is, a nationwide group of passionate people who push their standards higher and want to make a difference in their communities.”

To honor the valuable contributions to IHHN and ICON 2024, shields were presented to chief guests, ICON 2024 sponsors, and faculty. Poster by Fatima Hemani got the 1st position, Saba Shahid and Maleeha Khan got the 2nd position while poster by Nada Ghouri got the third position.

Dr. Zafar Zaidi, CEO, IHHN, in his concluding remarks, said that in 2012, ICON started out as a handful of sessions and workshops that were conducted in a single day. Today, it’s a national event! At the heart of this event was bringing people together, learning from each other, and breaking boundaries in health and all related fields to improve health outcomes for all. Prof. Zafar Zaidi also announced that Dr. Syed Ahmer Hamid will be the Chairman ICON 2026.


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