From 4 to 5 November, the International Horizon Scanning Initiative hosted its first ever Symposium. The event, which was held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was hosted in collaboration with IHSI’s partner ECRI, who have been commissioned with developing the Joint Horizon Scanning Database and the IHSI High Impact Reports.

Over the course of two days, more than 150 experts gathered virtually to learn more about IHSI’s work in the horizon scanning sector. The first day was specifically for IHSI partners, while the second day targeted external audiences, with a wide variety of European and non-European participants in attendance.

Professor Diana Delnoij, Chair of the IHSI Board of Directors and Executive Committee, described the event as an “important moment in IHSI’s journey.”

She said: “The popularity of IHSI’s first ever Symposium shows how vital cooperation in this sector is. The database currently being produced will be one of the most far-reaching and comprehensive pharmaceutical horizon scanning repositories in the world, and it is clear this is exciting for many people – not least for our partners. This unique dataset and its application will allow our members to further strengthen their healthcare systems.”

Topics discussed over the two days included:

  • IHSI’s inception as an initiative and how it has evolved over the years.
  • The horizon scanning methodology applied within the IHSI framework – in particular, how data harvesting timelines have been carefully crafted to gather high-quality data, which will ultimately feed into an efficient and innovative early identification process.
  • Use cases from IHSI Member States – how members plan to use forthcoming data from the Joint Horizon Scanning Database and how this data will plug vital evidence gaps in national decision-making processes. Members also discussed how innovative modelling could further support a level playing field.
  • The work the IHSI Medical Devices Working Group is doing to explore the potential and eventual inclusion of medical devices into IHSI’s horizon scanning activities.

The next Symposium is due to be held on 2-3 June, 2022, and further details will be confirmed via the IHSI website in due course.