Technological advancements have been longstanding catalysts for change in healthcare. Clinical laboratories have undergone major changes as well with the introduction of new diagnostic techniques and tests born out of the research of fundamental pathogenesis of diseases and progressions of new methods in themselves.
More integration between clinical information and laboratory data is now necessary due to the complexity of the modern healthcare system and the accessibility of a wide range of laboratory tests. This is especially true for genetic testing, which has warranted discussion on being carried out as an add-on to patient management and being used in conjunction with all available patient data.
The clinical laboratory will have an impact on the medical environment of the future by maintaining the highest quality data collected, enhancing the overall quality of the process of supplying laboratory information, and maximising the impact of the laboratory results on patient treatment. More complicated, expensive, and challenging-to-interpret tests will continue to be developed as a result of advances in science and technology. Artificial intelligence will also continue to rise among other trends.
Dr. Akram Azmy, VP Commercial of Beckman Coulter Diagnostics MEA, has been leading the commercial activities of the company in the Middle East and Africa, primarily in the GCC, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and Pakistan. He expands on the trends on the horizon of the medical laboratory among other predications. Excerpts from the interview:
Middle East and Africa in the limelight
According to Dr. Azmy, the difference between Middle East and Africa markets and others is their emphasis on the development and adoption of technology.
“Countries such as the UAE and the rest of the GCC are more advanced when it comes to adopting new technology and its costs. In the next few years, we predict the whole market heading towards an acceleration of technology, adoption, and personalised medicine. I see a much bigger change and challenge coming, and of course, the global economic environment will encourage better collaboration between the industry, government, and private sector. All these factors will reflect in reaching the best outcome for the patient,” he says.
Labs from an economic growth perspective
For several years, growing trends have been on the radar for Beckman Coulter, with most of them falling within the greater complexity of managing this business. Dr. Azmy describes an increase in demand for the number of samples, data, experimental variations, and several advancements in genetics.
“When we look at innovations, IT clinical connectivity is a major area of focus. There are numerous changes taking place operationally in the market, due to a stronger demand and larger laboratory facilities that are a result of continuous mergers and acquisitions in both the private and government sectors. Cost efficiency of operation is a big area of focus as well, therefore with all the various stakeholders in this operation, the industry needs to join forces to achieve all future goals,” he says.
Training and education core of elevating skills in medical and IVD fields
When asked about the role of training and education, Dr. Azmy stresses that it is a top priority for Beckman Coulter. “This is not new, and we have always believed that education and training is an integral part of our responsibility towards the clinical laboratory society and the region,” he comments. Eighteen months ago, Beckman Coulter established Beckman Coulter Vision Center in Dubai with a primary responsibility to provide training to associates, all clinicians and laboratory personnel.
“I’m happy to share that more than 400 professionals have visited our vision center since the beginning of 2022. Our educational programmes are run at different levels to accommodate all, and the centre has a full laboratory setup that supports technician training,” says Dr. Azmy.
Impact of Artificial Intelligence on lab
In recent years, the use of artificial intelligence is growing rapidly in the medical field, especially in diagnostics and management of treatment. “If you combine artificial intelligence and machine learning together, it is a powerful tool for assisting diagnostic and treatment decisions and is a true revolution for precise diagnostics. It will support the personalisation of medicine and make it possible for predicting chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, as well as Type 1 diabetes. AI holds the power to truly help individual patients to finally own their own health because prevention and treatment can be personalised,” he concludes.
This article appears in the latest issue of Omnia Health Magazine. Read the full issue online today.