It hasn't happened in 12 years.

Health care leaders from all over the world will converge on Chicago next week to attend the International Hospital Federation's World Hospital Congress. This marks the first time the conference has hit U.S. shores in a dozen years, following the previous iteration two years ago in Oslo, Norway. The roster of keynote speakers offers a who's who of health care leaders, including Kaiser Permanente Chairman and CEO Bernard Tyson and Institute for Healthcare Improvement chief Maureen Bisognano.

Organizers are expecting more than 700 attendees this year, about half of which come from around the world, says Thomas Dolan, chairman of the committee that put together the program for the event and president emeritus of the American College of Healthcare Executives. He's excited to hear some of the lessons learned from around the world, with presenters hailing from Nigeria, China and France, to name a few.

"It's a big deal because it's the only meeting of its kind in health care management that has such broad, international representation from around the world," Dolan says. China, for one, has been using ICD-10 for more than a dozen years, and could offer its U.S. peers a few tips in the transition, he notes. "It's really a terrific opportunity for world hospital leaders to get together and share best practices."  

The program officially kicks off on Tuesday with opening remarks from Carissa Etienne, M.D., director of the Pan American Health Organization. Along with the International Hospital Federation, the meeting, in its 39th iteration, is also hosted by the American Hospital Association and ACHE, both of which are based in Chicago. Now an annual affair, the meeting last hit the states in San Francisco back in 2003, and will leap across the Atlantic in 2016 to set up shop in Durban, South Africa.

Watch for continuing coverage of the World Hospital Congress at next week.