Key Highlights from the Inaugural KLAS Middle East Summit 2024

Akhter Hemayoun Mubarki
Thr 08 Feb 2024
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The healthcare landscape in the Middle East is undergoing a significant digital transformation, marking a profound shift in how health and care services are delivered across the region. As governments and businesses increasingly recognize the transformative power of technology, there is a concerted effort to embrace innovative healthcare solutions and technologies to reshape patient care, streamline processes, and enhance overall healthcare delivery.

In this rapidly changing healthcare environment, healthcare providers and executive leaders must come together to chart the course ahead. With a collective vision centered on innovation and excellence, our goal should be to foster stronger collaboration among healthcare providers, vendors, and policymakers within the region. Through the exchange of insights, best practices, and practical experiences, we can bring about substantial changes and enhancements in healthcare for the benefit of the communities we support.

Recently, I had an incredible opportunity to attend the KLAS Research inaugural event in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, KLAS Middle East Summit 2024, from the 27th to the 28th of January 2024, in Dubai. The summit brought together healthcare leaders for a day of collaboration and learning, focusing on top priorities and challenges in healthcare. Participants included Dr Mubaraka Ibrahim, acting CIO, Emirates Health Services, and Richard Storey, chief of health information communication technology, Hamad Medical Corporation. Attending providers, vendors, and policymakers were involved in discussions centered around organizational priorities referencing ongoing KLAS research on regional healthcare IT trends, patient engagement, cloud readiness, and other IT topics.

Before launching into healthcare technology, I’d like to briefly discuss healthcare policy and governance. I believe, and I am sure you would agree, that robust policy and governance frameworks play a crucial role in healthcare, establishing a structured and ethical path for adopting technology, fostering advancements, and prioritizing privacy, security, and patient welfare. These frameworks form the bedrock for a unified and responsible incorporation of technology in the healthcare environment.

Collaboration among providers, policymakers, and vendors is essential, and KLAS Research is ideally positioned to lead these discussions. KLAS Research's extensive expertise provides guidance for driving AI-driven digital transformation in the Middle East. Additionally, regulatory governance policies from key authorities must be coordinated, helping to set standards and guidelines for healthcare practices and ensuring seamless adoption of digital healthcare and AI. This collaborative effort will enable us to address concerns surrounding patient care, safety, ethics, and technology, creating a conducive environment for advancements in healthcare.

Among numerous engaging sessions and discussions on digital technology, four healthcare tracks stood out for me. These particular topics from the inaugural event bear significant importance in shaping the future landscape of healthcare. I'm excited about witnessing the adoption of these digital technologies and the cultural shift towards proactive health management in the Middle East, facilitated by patient-centric strategies.

1. The rise of the healthcare information technology (HIT) cloud

The Middle East is undergoing significant growth and widespread adoption of cloud-based solutions in healthcare. Various factors, such as improved data accessibility, enhanced collaboration, the need for scalable and flexible infrastructure, and interoperability of health systems through cloud platforms, are driving the prioritization of seamless patient information exchange. Healthcare organizations like Medicare Hospitals, Emirates Hospitals Group, and Mediclinic have integrated electronic health record (EHR) systems based on the cloud. This integration allows healthcare providers real-time access to patient data, insights into pre-existing health conditions, and the ability to devise treatment plans accordingly. Recently, major cloud providers have formally launched their cloud in the GCC countries, unlocking numerous new digital opportunities for the country's economy.

It's crucial that digital healthcare solutions are accompanied by advanced analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) within cloud environments. This enables healthcare providers to derive meaningful insights from vast datasets quickly. Focal points continue to be security measures and regulatory compliance, ensuring the safe and compliant storage of sensitive health information in the cloud. The swift adoption of cloud technologies by healthcare organizations in the next few years, encompassing all aspects of healthcare, will be intriguing to observe.

2. The ascent of patient engagement and experience

Amid the healthcare transformation, organizations recognize the need to build lasting patient relationships, emphasizing a patient-centric approach. Patients taking charge of their healthcare journey significantly alters care dynamics, making customer relationship management (CRM) pivotal in enhancing patient engagement, experience, and overall satisfaction through organized digital platforms.

In pursuit of its goal for a healthier Abu Dhabi, the Department of Health introduced the Muashir, Abu Dhabi Healthcare Quality Index in 2018. In Saudi Arabia, the Ministry of Health (MOH)'s Patient Experience Measurement Program stands as a key national transformation initiative, aiming to enhance patient experience and achieve excellence in healthcare.

Digital health solutions with mobile apps and online platforms provide patients with convenient access to health information, appointment scheduling, and telehealth services. These are becoming increasingly popular. In a recent development, Innovaccer acquired a leading digital marketing and customer relationship management (CRM) platform, Cured, aiming to enhance the patient experience, excel in value-based care, and accelerate growth. The acquisition strengthens Innovaccer's dedication to providing a leading healthcare experience platform (HXP).

3. The growing emphasis on optimizing electronic health records (EHR)

A focused initiative to improve healthcare information management has led to an increased emphasis on optimizing electronic medical records (EHRs). The region is experiencing a drive towards interoperability, with the goal of seamlessly integrating EHRs across various healthcare providers to create a comprehensive patient record.

The popularity of mobile and cloud-based EHR solutions is growing, facilitating remote access and collaboration among healthcare professionals. Additionally, there is a growing emphasis on healthcare data analytics to derive actionable insights for enhanced patient care and outcomes. As the Middle East continues to optimize EHRs, the focus is on leveraging technology to streamline processes, improve accessibility, and ultimately elevate the quality of healthcare services.

Many hospitals use multiple EHRs, resulting in integration challenges. Consequently, the need has grown for implementing technologies that aggregate and organize data from disparate sources to create a unified data model. This provides healthcare service providers and insurers with a complete view of a person’s care. To understand the significance of EHR optimization and data management, please refer to Innovaccer’s whitepaper, "Six Reasons Why Middle Eastern Healthcare Organizations Need a Robust Data Management Platform."

4. Artificial intelligence propelling efficiency and automation in healthcare

AI is driving efficiency and automation in healthcare, with healthcare providers in the Middle East increasingly adopting technological solutions that streamline operations, reduce administrative burdens, and enhance overall efficiency. The use of AI for automating routine tasks, such as appointment scheduling and billing processes, optimizes workflows, allowing healthcare professionals to concentrate more on patient care. Telemedicine and virtual care platforms are also used to improve accessibility and extend healthcare services to a broader population.

The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) established the Dubai Health Innovation Centre to promote innovation in healthcare technologies, specifically focusing on AI solutions. Meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia, the government's commitment to advancing digital health initiatives is evident through the allocation of SR180 billion (US$50.3 billion) for research and development in the healthcare sector.

Furthermore, AI is integrated into diagnostic processes, aiding in the interpretation of medical imaging and supporting clinical decision-making. There is a growing emphasis on preventive diagnostics and early detection, empowering healthcare professionals to intervene proactively. As the Middle East continues to invest in technological advancements, the healthcare landscape is undergoing a transformative shift towards greater efficiency and automation.

The KLAS Middle East Summit 2024 provided a valuable learning experience. Engaging with industry peers facilitated discussions on healthcare challenges and potential solutions. I look forward to diving into the insights shared in the summary white paper from the summit and the associated takeaways.

To explore how an advanced healthcare data platform can assist in addressing your organization’s current healthcare challenges — achieving seamless patient engagement and enhancing care outcomes — schedule a personalized demo with our healthcare experts.


Revolutionizing Healthcare in the Middle East with the Power of AI

Tags:  Healthcare AI
Akhter Hemayoun Mubarki

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