Sherif Beshara, Group CEO – Mohamed and Obaid Almulla Group of Companies, which operates American Hospital Dubai, talks to GN Focus about the impact of emerging healthcare technologies
How did technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality change healthcare delivery in your hospital?
We have started our journey with a number of leading-edge technologies that have improved patient care and experience and will continue to enhance them in the future. They have also introduced efficiencies across our organisation. We believe technology, robotics, artificial intelligence and data analytics will transform the delivery models with focus on enhanced health outcomes, patient experience, health surveillance and operational efficiencies.
AI in healthcare is being defined and validated; the more accurate the algorithms and software in emulating human cognitive actions in performing tasks and analysing medical data, the more AI will become more prevalent in the healthcare sector. We are currently focusing on AI in the areas of mammogram screening and stroke detection. American Hospital Dubai signed an agreement with Cerner to develop and launch the first AI research lab in the region with the goal to provide a surveillance platform and enhance patient care and experience.
Augmented reality has been changing over the past couple of years starting from virtual 3D solutions and devices to what is now called extended reality (XR). We see XR potential in pain management, surgical training, patient engagement relative to rehabilitation, mental health therapy and disease awareness.
We believe all the above-mentioned will push patient care outcome and experience while introducing proper efficiencies in the system.
How useful are blockchain applications in healthcare?
Blockchain technology can be extremely useful in healthcare because it can streamline communications, faster diagnostics and provide faster access to medical records. It allows healthcare professionals and patients to focus on the priorities with much more efficiency and utmost confidentiality. Because blockchain maximises security and accessibility, it can be used to store and share medical records in mobile applications and remote monitoring systems. Since the launch of the Emirates Blockchain Strategy 2021, the UAE is in fact encouraging the adoption of the technology nationwide.
American Hospital Dubai has been and will continue to align its technology stack to participate in UAE’s strategy with regard to data sharing and exchange utilising blockchain to prove and enhance security.
Robotic surgeries have become a major part of your services. Can you explain the rationale for including it in your delivery?
In trying to offer the best services for our patients, we are equipping our surgeons with the latest technologies and equipment, allowing them to perform complex surgical procedures with more precision, flexibility and control. Compared to traditional or open surgery, robot-assisted surgery allows for minimally invasive surgery using an advanced set of instruments, leading to shorter in-hospital recovery times, reduced pain, smaller risk of infection and minimal scarring. These are some of the benefits that allow our patients to resume their normal activities as soon as possible.
American Hospital Dubai has acquired the new generation Da Vinci robot that has immersive 3D-HD visualisation capabilities and robotic instruments that precisely replicate surgeon’s movements. It has also built on the advancements in AI in recent years, where it gives physicians enhanced surgical and decision guidance, dangerous action warnings, and possibly neural control. We have successfully completed more than 100 surgeries in 2020 so far.
What are the other digital technologies that help American Hospital Dubai provide effective and sustainable healthcare?
We’re committed to delivering sustainable healthcare in the UAE. Being at the forefront of healthcare delivery and innovation, we are aligned with the UAE’s vision for the future of healthcare and medical tourism. We’ve embarked on a number of major digital transformation projects to ensure we are, and continue to be, at the forefront of institutions regionally and internationally for patient clinical outcome, experience and efficiency. We will also continue to evaluate and expand on proven AI capabilities and automation.