HTA International (HTAi) Annual Meeting in Cologne
In June 2019 more than 1,200 participants from over 75 countries attended the 16th Annual Meeting of the international society for health-technology assessment HTA International (HTAi). The meeting was held in the Maritim Hotel in Cologne.
At the five-day event, experts from a variety of disciplines such as medicine, public health, clinical epidemiology, health economics, healthcare policy, ethics, law and management discussed future developments in health-technology assessment (HTA) as well as the sustained integration of HTA in Europe’s national healthcare systems.
This year’s host was the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG), which in 2016, with the support of the Cologne Convention Bureau, had already successfully applied to hold the Annual Meeting in Cologne. HTAi was particularly impressed by the city’s good location and easy reachability as well as by its wide variety of venues and numerous supporting programme options. Another important factor was the good interdisciplinary cooperation with the scientists in the city. The annual meeting’s venue rotates between different locations worldwide and is therefore hosted by a different city each time.
In addition to engaging in very fruitful scientific discussions during the conference, the international participants had enough time to get to know Cologne and its culture. The supporting programme and the meeting itself were accompanied and assisted by the event agency welcome Veranstaltungs GmbH. The opening event was held on the evening before the meeting started. It took place in the Gürzenich, the oldest convention centre in Germany. The participants were welcomed by the representatives of the organizational team, Dr. Alric Rüther (IQWiG) and Dr. Hans-Peter Dauben (DIMDI), as well as by Dr. Sean Tunis, President of HTAi. The international scientific delegates were also greeted by Cologne Deputy Mayor Dr. Ralf Heinen. The evening’s highlight was the appearance of the Cologne Carnival dance troupe Rheinveilchen, whose performance put the audience into a real Cologne mood.
Museum Ludwig opened its doors exclusively for the HTAi Annual General Meeting on the evening of the third day of the congress. Following the AGM, all of the visitors had the opportunity to tour parts of the museum’s exhibition.
On the final evening, the meeting came to a spectacular conclusion with a trip on the MS Rheinfantasie river cruise vessel operated by KD Köln-Düsseldorfer Rheinschiffahrt. The guests were treated to a wonderful cruise into the sunset, during which they passed Cologne Cathedral and had a panoramic view of the city’s riverfront.
As a souvenir for a very successful and eventful meeting, delegates who rendered an outstanding service to the society, the meeting, or science were awarded a “Carnival Medal” that was especially created for HTAi. The 17th HTAi Annual Meeting will be held next year in Beijing, China. At the end of the meeting, a red plush Cologne Cathedral was therefore presented to the event’s future host in China as a kind of mascot.