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Transformation under way

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The region’s thirst for new technologies gives it an edge in healthcare, but it is essential that new ideas are validated before being integrated.

Across MENAT, a host of health tech start-ups are offering digital solutions that promise new efficiencies for those with the means to invest.

Telemedicine, in particular, is poised to make a breakthrough for follow-up consultations. For example, the Dubai Health Authority’s smart home care project ensures home-bound patients can be monitored without the need to visit a hospital after treatment.

Artificial intelligence, specifically voice technology, has advanced to the point where it can help physicians become more efficient through the automatic recording of patient consultations. The UAE is a leader here, with its Artificial Intelligence Strategy 20311 setting targets for technological transformation in healthcare and other sectors. Dubai’s adoption of AI is already streamlining the process of radiology tests for residency purposes.

“A lot of young people are coming up with brilliant ideas. However, the belief that medicine can be reduced to an Uber model is an oversimplification. I believe that integrating valid technology into the business makes sense – we are launching our own mobile app, giving more control and data to patients – but you have to pick and choose between what has been validated and what is hype.” – Magda Habib, Dawi Clinics

“There are a number of incubator programmes in Dubai to support health technology innovation. We are licensing telehealth companies: over the past 12 to 18 months, several new companies have established a base here and have begun to roll out patient services.” – Dr Ibtesam Al Bastaki, DHA

“The Dubai Health Authority has started to use AI to forecast patient conditions. Combining test results and patient history, these machines can predict potential problems and care required. Some healthcare operators have also started to design their own smart watches (development is in progress) under their membership schemes, so they can monitor their patients. This will help reduce the overall cost of care. Telemedicine, which was once used in the region to get second opinions, is now being used in primary care as well. This could have a big impact on how hospitals are designed in future.” – Shehzad Jamal, Knight Frank

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