While technology is already an integral part of the healthcare sector, the pandemic has revealed even more how much it contributes to the efficiency of hospitals. Ali Juma AlAjme, Director of the Digital Health Department, Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) said that in the post-Covid-19 pandemic times, technology will remain to be significant in the medical field in UAE. It was at the first Middle East Digital Health Forum hosted by Dubai on May 27th that he said this, adding that the country will witness more digital hospitals coming up soon.
He highlighted how well data and tech helped healthcare workers in UAE deal with the coronavirus outbreak. In the post-Covid era also, he is expecting the public to reach out for telemedicine solutions more often. It is anticipated that by using such digital healthcare solutions, medical professionals and patients are likely to have better interpersonal relationships. Since UAE has sufficient infrastructural facilities for providing excellent services in the healthcare space, the emergence of digital hospitals is highly likely.
The UAE government’s ICT Strategy 2021 and National Innovation Strategy are two programs that comply with this vision, as they plan to develop UAE into an entirely digitally powered nation. The UAE Vision 2021 also aims to adopt cloud computing, even in the medical space, to produce positive results. Regarding this, AlAjme added that UAE offers cloud-based services for healthcare service providers. This ensures that all healthcare companies can utilize cloud-based facilities via the two telecommunication brands.
How Technology Played A Role In Battling Covid-19
AlAjme said that the role played by IT infrastructure in the UAE health sector and the technical expertise of medical specialists is immense when it came to controlling the coronavirus outbreak. Data provided by technology was used to make decisions concerning the supply of vaccines, establishing isolation centers, the launching of field hospitals, etc. Through digitalization, extreme efficiency has been showcased by medical professionals and the entire healthcare sector.
In 2020, the MoHAP introduced a new track-and-trace technology called Tatmeen. It helped secure healthcare supply and distribution chains and track pharmaceutical items as they moved through these chains. Thus, this digital platform helped create trust and transparency. It also helped manage the stock of counterfeit or expired drugs, medical instruments, and other illegitimate items.
The ministry also added more features to its Shefaa app, giving it a newly re-engineered update. It enables the users to have easier access to hospital services and archives. AlAjme explained that they combined 65 platforms to this digital space and integrated it into over 200 health and fitness gadgets. This includes Fit Bit, iHealth, and other US Federal Drug Administration’s approved medical devices.
Laws Concerning Digital Hospitals
All companies providing medical services have to also keep two legislations in mind. The first one is the Health ICT law which monitors how technology is used in the healthcare space in UAE. The act, which presented certain important guidelines regarding the accumulation, processing, and transfer of health data, came into being in May 2019.
All healthcare providers, medical insurance companies, the healthcare IT sector, and all other companies that either directly or indirectly are part of the medical and healthcare space within UAE have to abide by the law. This will ensure an international standard of practice being applied to protecting medical data. The second law deals with the clinical procedure and processes that those who make the telemedicine system have to consider. These laws will apply to upcoming digital hospitals.
The future of digital hospitals is a promising one. The healthcare sector in UAE is expected to undergo a revolutionary transformation through digitalization and a technology-driven approach. Residents of the UAE can look forward to more efficient, transparent, and accessible healthcare facilities in the post-Covid-19 pandemic era.