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From left: Lachlan Kitchen, Moderator; Dr. Khawla Al-Hajjaj, Zabeel Primary Health Care in Dubai; Niyaz Mohamad, Head of Sales, Lower Gulf, Siemens Healthineers; and Dr. Fatih Mehmet Gul, CEO at Fakeeh University Hospital. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: One of the major game changers in the UAE health care sector during the two years of COVID-19 pandemic has been the proliferation of digital and artificial intelligence (AI)-powered solutions that have provided smart, sustainable and cost- efficient health care delivery to all.

This was the focus of the panel discussions on health care at the World Sustainable Business Forum (WSBF), held in Dubai on Monday, where the terms digital, AI powered and technology-enabled, were used interchangeably and acknowledged as the new catchphrases for innovation and sustainability in the field.

Every dark cloud has a silver lining. The ongoing pandemic situation has not only brought the various stakeholders in the global economy together but has helped disseminate the seminal principles of sustainability and innovation that can empower the community today.

Important insights

Highlighting this theme, the WSBF provided very important insights and out-of-the-box collaborative ideas in various aspects of the socio economic fabric of UAE.

This exclusive closed-door event — a joint initiative by Gulf News, and the International Federation of Indo-Israel Chambers of Commerce (IFIICC), a global organisation committed to empowering strategic, sustainable partnerships.

The WSBF had two elaborate panel discussions on health care. In the first discussion, ‘Future Proofing Health Care through innovation and sustainable solutions, eminent panellists highlighted the learning they had in survival and adaptability during the pandemic.

Future innovations

Talking about the top three future health care innovations that are integral to development, Dr Asma Al Mannei, Head of Health care Quality at the Department of Health, Abu Dhabi said, “People in this industry have to realise that health regulators like us, are your friends. 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.

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Dr Asma Al Mannei, Head of Health care Quality at the Department of Health, Abu Dhabi speaks at the forum. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

“We want to tell all the start ups and innovative entrepreneurs, come forward. This where the future is (with us). We need to see you, we can be your incubators, we need to hear you and get you to join the eco system of innovations.”

Dr Fahad Al Marzouqi, Chief Operating Officer of G42 Health Care, a leading new UAE health tech company, said the current pandemic brought together the regulators, technology providers, researchers and the public and private health care organisations, creating a whole eco system making health care more reactive and preventive. He said, “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. ”

Hani Khalak, Chief Technology Officer of G42 Healthcare emphasised upon the empowerment of AI-powered technologies and cloud computing that had provided speed, scalability abd adaptability to innovations in health care. Citing the example of PCR testing, Khalak said, “The new PCR tests are a good example of use of technology in assuring the accuracy and speed in results even when the scalability of tests was increased manifold. We have the algorithms and the cloud computing systems and that gives us the much required speed in outcome.”

Talking about the top three much-required future innovations in health care, Khalak said: “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 unable our data remains secure.”

The universal nature of innovative health care

One of the panel discussions highlighted the role of technology and innovation in giving a far wider reach of health care to all. The panellists included Niyaz Mohamad, Head of Sales, Lower Gulf, 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.

Dr Hajjaj cited the role on innovation be tele- medicine during the pandemic. “While digital and tele health care had been introduced in Dubai much before the pandemic, it was during the lockdown that residents saw the real benefits of tele medicine and digital health care.”

Dr Gul agreed, saying digital health care had provided optimum capacity management of health care facilities. “Capacity management is a challenge and makes health care expensive. But using AI-powered solutions, we have been able to treat 10,000 patients in Saudi Arabia and UAE, provide home vaccination services for children, support the doctor for every citizen initiative of the Dubai government and utilise the existing health care capacity judiciously throughout the pandemic. Digital health care made this possible.”

Mohammad cited the manner in which Siemens integrated technology providers, users, researchers and end users in health care through 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.”