MENA’s leading digital health to convene in Dubai for eHWDC 2023

Some of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region’s leading experts on digital health and related fields in the healthcare sector are set to gather at the end of this month for the 6th edition of the GCC eHealth Workforce Development Conference (eHWDC 2023).

Scheduled to take place between 31 October and 2 November 2023 at Jumeirah Emirates Towers, the event will focus on critical digital health topics, including public health, health information exchange systems (HIEs), data governance, artificial intelligence, and workforce development.

Organising the conference is the GCC Taskforce on Workforce Development in Digital Healthcare (ZIMAM) and MWAN Events, and is part of ZIMAM’s mission to spearhead and promote a sustainable digital healthcare ecosystem via a skilled local digital health workforce within countries including the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Achieving an ecosystem of this kind is down to strong collaboration, says ZIMAM’s co-founder and lead coordinator, Dr. Osama El Hassan.

“This goal can only be achieved by creating an energetic ecosystem, where government recruitment agencies, higher education institutes, healthcare trainers, and technology vendors work together with public and private healthcare organisations to develop curriculums, on-job training and compelling career paths that can help young talent lead digital health transformation across the GCC,” he said.

ZIMAM was established back in 2016 when “digital transformation was in its infancy in the GCC,” Dr. El Hassan explains. “We had a lot of challenges. At that time, we were relying more on companies to help us to develop these kinds of projects. But we realised that most of these projects were not sustainable. The only way to achieve sustainability in digital health is to build our own workforce. 

“From that time, we realised that this was a journey that we needed to start. And because of that, we created ZIMAM in 2016.”

Dr. El Hassan continues: “The idea behind ZIMAM is to promote digital health as a profession. So, through our events and community building, we managed to put health informatics on the map, and we managed to establish building a workforce around digital health as a key priority in the region.”


HIMSS, the publisher of Healthcare IT News, is scheduled to be present during eHWDC 2023, with the organisation’s president and CEO, Hal Wolf making an appearance on key panels and events. Joining him is the regional director of HIMSS Analytics for Europe and Latin America, John Rayner.

Commenting on his session focused on digital maturity, Rayner tells us: “I think everybody has some idea of what HIMSS does; we’re commonly associated with our ability to manage large events. But the side of the business I represent is really about patient safety, improving the quality of clinical care, reducing waste, and using money and resources in an effective way. 

“And unless you hear [more on] that first hand – not just from me, but from other organisations where patient safety has improved – it’s often a difficult concept to [make sense of],” he said. “So I’ll be giving practical examples of how patient safety can be improved, and how using digital maturity models allows care providers to improve the overall quality of clinical care.”

Rayner continues: “[During my session, I will be focusing on] the need, not only to measure digital maturity across the entire system, but also to manage that whole system in a very intuitive and different way. Because ‘whole systems’ leadership is very different from being a leader in a single organisation.”

Additionally, Rayner is on the awards committee for the ZIMAM Digital Health Awards 2023, which will honour individuals and organisations who have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of digital health.


eHWDC 2023 will also feature a special HIMSS Middle East Community Meeting on 31 October during which guests will be able to network and interact with fellow professionals in the space.

“It’s often a great opportunity to network, and chat with colleagues,” Rayner adds. “One of the things that HIMSS does well is that we triangulate; we match people who have a common need with a common solution.

“Over the last eight years, we have been in hundreds of hospitals all across the world, and because of that you can really easily match hospitals that do similar things with similar people and similar systems somewhere in the world to create a benchmarking partner or a reference site. 

“That’s what the community meeting often does – or any social event – it allows conversation and allows me to make those connections for people.” 

Register to attend eHWDC 2023 by visiting

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