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Achieving interoperability in healthcare

Article-Achieving interoperability in healthcare

Canva interoperability
A look at why healthcare needs a structural change in the way it is delivered.

Healthcare is facing a three-fold challenge today. The costs are soaring, and the number of patients suffering from non-communicable diseases is increasing. Also, the different devices, solutions, and products in a health system usually come from different vendors, and integrating all the various systems to provide comprehensive information can be quite tricky.

In an interview, Dr. Samir Said, M.D., General Manager, Connected Care and Healthcare Informatics, Middle East, Turkiye & Africa, Philips, said that due to the above reasons, healthcare needs a structural change in the way it is delivered. “One of the things that the industry needs to look at is how we integrate all the different systems that exist in healthcare and make them talk to each other. Interoperability is key so that patient data seamlessly flows through the health system.”

Samir Said.jpg

Dr. Samir Said

He stressed that healthcare companies need to adopt a value-based healthcare mindset to bring down costs and enhance care. “For example, right from the product build-up, we need to ensure that these solutions will offer a better value and experience for the patient over time. It also needs to offer a better experience for the caregiver and optimisation of all the investments at a lower cost,” Dr. Said explained.

Furthermore, he shared that there is a need to better leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) in healthcare. People usually think about AI as a product, but it acts as almost a system within the product. “AI needs to be pervasive across the product. At Philips, every single product line, be it device or software, has AI embedded to augment the capacity of doctors,” he added.

The prevalence of AI in healthcare is also beneficial due to the caregiver shortage worldwide. Dr. Said explained that there is a significant gap in the growth of patients versus the growth of medical professionals. Therefore, there is a need to automate some redundant tasks and free time for doctors so that they can focus on taking care of patients.

When asked about the importance of sustainability in healthcare, Dr. Said stressed that sustainable operations need to be at the heart of any healthcare organisation today. He said that firms must focus on cloud-based operations to reduce electricity and energy consumption, thereby reducing costs and reinvesting the savings in something more meaningful for patients. He gave the example of MRI machines, which use up to 1.5 tonnes of helium. “At Philips, we have an MRI machine that we call “helium free”, as it uses only seven litres of helium. By using less helium, which is a finite resource that is quite expensive, we are starting our sustainability journey right before manufacturing.,” he shared.

He concluded: “All of our investment and research and development is going into health tech and informatics. We know that to make things interoperable and AI meaningful, technology needs to be pervasive. Also, while technology makes it possible, only people can make it happen!”

This article appears in Omnia Health magazine. Read the full issue online today.

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