The expansion of digital and artificial intelligence (AI)-powered solutions in the UAE health sector during the COVID-19 pandemic has emerged has a major game changer, ensuring the delivery of smart, sustainable and cost- efficient health care services to people across the country.
On Monday, the World Sustainable Business Forum was held in Dubai, focusing on the importance of digital, AI-powered solutions and technology-enabled solutions in addressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and enhancing the efficiency of the healthcare sector in the UAE and countries across the world. It was an exclusive closed-door event, organised by the joint initiative of Gulf News and International Federation of Indo-Israel Chambers of Commerce (IFIICC) - global organisation committed to empowering strategic, sustainable partnerships.
During the event, various panel discussions underlined that the pandemic crisis brought various stakeholders in the global economy together and facilitated the dissemination of seminal principles of sustainability and innovation to empower the community.
The WSBF shared key insights and out-of-the-box collaborative ideas in various aspects across the socio-economic sector of the UAE. There were two elaborate panel discussions on health care during the event.
The first panel discussion titled ‘Future Proofing Health Care through innovation and sustainable solutions' focused on leading panellists highlighting the learnings they received in survival and adaptability during the COVID-19 pandemic. The panelists talked about leading future healthcare innovations that are important to boosting development in the sector.
In this regard, Dr Asma Al Mannei, Head of Healthcare Quality at the Department of Health, Abu Dhabi, urged people in the sector to realise that health regulators are for their own benefit.
"Don’t be afraid of the regulator. The policies and the recommendations made by the regulator are for the benefit of the hospital and the end user. Innovations in new devices, medicines etc are all ratified with evidence -based research and the gadgets and innovations approved are for all," Dr Mannei said.
Dr Mannei called on all startups and innovative entrepreneurs to come forward with their technologies to create an ecosystem of innovation.
Dr Fahad Al Marzouqi, Chief Operating Officer of UAE's leading health tech company G42 Health Care, said that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought regulators, technology providers, researchers and the public and private healthcare organisations together in a whole ecosystem to make the healthcare sector more reactive and preventive for people in need.
“The top three innovations we require in health care for the coming years is passion, agility and security of speed in implementation of digital solutions," Dr Al Marzouqi said.
Hani Khalak, Chief Technology Officer of G42 Healthcare, further underlined the importance of empowering AI-powered technologies and cloud computing that provided crucial speed, scalability and adaptability to innovations in the healthcare sector in the UAE. Khalak cited the example of PCR testing, noting that it used algorithms and the cloud computing systems to ensure that results are rapid and accurate at a time when the scalability of tests was increased multifold.
“We need AI-enabling technology where AI can quickly process information, a dedicated UAE cloud to have all aspects on a topic, all players in one country like we did with all things COVID-19. The third important thing we need is security that will enable our data remains secure," Khalak said during discussions about the top three necessary future innovations in health care.
Another panel discussion highlighted the importance of technology and innovation in providing healthcare to remote regions across the country. The panellists included Niyaz Mohamad, Head of Sales (Lower Gulf) at Siemens Healthineers; Dr Khawla Al Hajjaj, director at Dubai Health Authority (DHA) — Zabeel Health Centre; and Dr Fatih Mehmet Gul, CEO of Fakeeh University Hospital, Dubai.
During the panel discussion, Dr Hajjaj discussed the role of innovation in strengthening telemedicine during the pandemic. He pointed out that the pandemic amplified the importance and benefits of digital technologies and tele-healthcare for people across the world.
Backing Dr Hajjaj's viewpoint, Dr Gul said that digital healthcare provided optimum capacity management of health care facilities during the pandemic. Dr Gul explained that AI-powered solutions helped in the treatment of more than 10,000 patients in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, providing home vaccination services for children, supporting doctors for every citizen initiative launched by the Dubai government, judicious utilisation of the existing capacity of the healthcare sector.
“Capacity management is a challenge and makes health care expensive. But digital health care made it possible," Dr Gul added.
In conclusion, Mohammad explained how Siemens integrated technology providers, researchers, users, and end users in the sector using their Innovative Think Tank Solution.
“Integrating all players in the field, we were able to accelerate the momentum of sustainability, better health care abs optimisation of costs. In the end, it is the consumer who stands to benefit from it all," Mohammad noted.