Digitalisation will help create the collaborative and proactive healthcare service delivery models required to address post-pandemic challenges in the United Arab Emirates and across the Middle East, sector stakeholders have announced. A recent organised by the Dubai Economy department also found that the emirate could help trial these services within a smart healthcare ecosystem if it addresses a few key pain points.
In particular, the workshop found that the UAE needs to develop strong frameworks and ethical policies around digital and hybrid healthcare, while attracting increased investments into medical research and development within the region. Pressures on healthcare costs remain high, with 80% of medical and pharma products being imported into Dubai and the rest of the Middle East. Meanwhile, public-private partnership (PPP) models will require significant attention to be able to function seamlessly as regional healthcare services models transition from traditional, face-to-face approaches to hybrid and digitalised solutions.
THE LARGER CONTEXT
Specific action areas include improving the calibre of the healthcare system in Dubai, addressing potential overbilling of patients and payers, and transforming the doctor-patient relationship from being visit-centric to home-based.
“Dubai has great opportunities to capitalise further on the digitisation of healthcare, and I am encouraged to see many ideas on how Dubai can be the test-bed for new digital healthcare innovation and new business models,” said Mohammed Shael Al Saadi, CEO of corporate strategic affairs at Dubai Economy. “This will contribute significantly to a future-ready healthcare and medical technology sector for the benefit of citizens and tourists alike.”
ON THE RECORD
Meanwhile, the emirate has also been developing Certificate of Need (CON) guidelines to attract investment into underserved healthcare areas.
“The government and the private sector must continue to work together closely to develop initiatives in the healthcare sector, like CON, keeping access to specialised services and patient experience as priorities,” said attendee Ibtesam AlBastaki, director of investment and PPP at the Dubai Health Authority.
The healthcare-focused Future Economy Lab is one of several being organised as part of the emirate’s CovExit initiative. The series surfaces potential post-COVID-19 recovery pathways, particularly in the technology space.