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Smart tech boosts UAE’s healthcare market to US$21 billion by 2021

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Healthcare providers should modernise IT infrastructure, maintain 24/7 cloud access, launch mobile apps, and enhance cybersecurity.

Smart healthcare technology innovations to combat the COVID-19 coronavirus and improve people’s daily lives are at the centre of the UAE’s healthcare spending topping US$21 billion by 2021, according to the United States – UAE Business Council. The UAE government continues to increase its healthcare spend, especially in supporting healthcare technology innovations that can help to manage lifestyle diseases and coronavirus.

According to UAE-based IT infrastructure and information management consultancy and solutions provider Condo Protego, healthcare technology innovations are the foundation of the UAE’s record-high healthcare spend.

Condo Protego highlights that healthcare providers should take a four-step process in their digital transformation: modernising IT infrastructure, maintaining 24/7 cloud access, launching mobile apps, and enhancing cybersecurity.

Speaking exclusively to Omnia Health Insights, Condo Protego’s deputy general manager Praj Calthorpe explains that by replacing time-consuming manual and paper-based processes with more efficient digital processes, Middle East healthcare providers can save time and money, and enhance patient experiences.

“Cloud-based platforms are the foundation for hosting digital patient records,” he says. “These records can be updated in real-time by healthcare professionals, can allow patients to monitor their progress and input medical readings from their own self-care, and can enable instant communication and telehealth between patients and doctors.

“Amid social distancing, telehealth can help doctors treat more patients faster and with high-quality care,” Calthorpe adds.

In some cases, Artificial Intelligence-based applications can help doctors to make patient diagnoses more quickly based on the applications using big data analyses of potentially millions of prior x-rays and CT scans.

Integrating mobile apps and healthcare devices can also enhance patient care, Calthorpe explains. “For lifestyle diseases, such as diabetes, a digital blood glucose monitor could send results electronically into the patient’s digital patient records instead of a patient having to enter results in a written logbook. Linking in health insurance companies can also allow for more complete billing history and more convenient digital payments.”

What could the smart hospital of the future look like?

According to Calthorpe, smart hospitals that integrate the Internet of Things (IoT) can find real-time tracking of their assets – such as beds, IVs, and vital signs monitors – to help save time from nurses in tracking down supplies, and also money by accelerating or even predicting repairs. Pharmacies connected to hospitals can also have better insights on past order histories for real-time and predictive decision-making capabilities in ordering their medications.

“Having real-time insights on patient conditions could also help to stem outbreaks of infection in hospitals and CCTV surveillance could also better alert nurses to patients who may be leaving their rooms prematurely,” he says.

Calthorpe believes that, soon, we may see that doctors and nurses no longer need to take or transcribe handwritten notes, but instead can have them digitally transcribed. In turn, doctors and nurses can free up their vital time to focus on treating patients and providing better patient care.

“Amid the current era of coronavirus, mobile apps are already helping to stem the spread of coronavirus with contact tracing,” he concludes.

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