Innovative strategies charting new frontiers in Dubai’s health sector

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Innovative strategies charting new frontiers in Dubai’s health sector

In the dynamic healthcare landscape of Dubai, organisations like ours encounter a blend of distinctive challenges and promising opportunities within the digital health ecosystem. Navigating the ever-evolving landscape of technology and staying current with the latest digital health advancements is a continual challenge stated, Dr Shanila Laiju, Group Chief Executive Officer, Medcare Hospitals & Medical Centres in an exclusive conversation with Kaanchi Chawla of Elets News Network (ENN). Edited excerpts:

In the context of Dubai’s ambitious healthcare vision, how do Medcare Hospitals & Medical Centres position itself as a leader in adopting digital health solutions?

In alignment with Dubai’s ambitious healthcare vision, Medcare Hospitals & Medical Centres have strategically positioned themselves as leaders in the adoption of cutting-edge digital health solutions. This position is led by a multifaceted approach that incorporates the integration of innovative tools and technology to enhance the patient’s experience and operational efficiency. Our multichannel integrated platform enables Medcare to actively capture and analyse customer feedback, transforming it into both qualitative and quantitative data. This data-driven approach provides actionable insights that inform decision making and continuous improvement within the organisation, aligning with the healthcare vision’s goal of delivering exceptional patient care.

Additionally, Medcare ensures that every customer query is closely monitored in real-time against predefined service level agreements (SLAs). These SLAs are specifically designed to address the unique and sensitive nature of the healthcare business. The incorporation of auto escalation pathways for different query types ensures that issues are addressed promptly and effectively, contributing to a seamless patient experience.

Furthermore, our interactive, one touch application empowers in-patients to raise non-clinical requests via tablet based devices. This innovative approach not only grants patients greater control over their non-medical needs but also enables the hospital to monitor and track these requests in real-time, enhancing efficiency and overall patient satisfaction.

By embracing technology and utilising patient feedback and data-driven insights, Medcare is actively shaping the future of healthcare in Dubai and providing exemplary care to its patients.

Medcare has also taken a bold step by launching the UAE’s first hospital in the Metaverse. This initiative aligns with the UAE’s commitment to technological advancements in healthcare. It opens new frontiers in patient care, providing an immersive and digitally enhanced healthcare environment.

The UAE has been making significant investments in the health tech space. How has this impacted patient care at your organisation?

The substantial investments made by the UAE in the health tech space have had a profound impact on patient care at Medcare. We’ve embraced a digital-first strategy that prioritises patient convenience and accessibility. This approach encompasses a range of innovative solutions, including telehealth services and online appointment booking, which empower patients to receive care when and where it suits them best. Furthermore, we’ve seamlessly connected the patient journey through digital means, ensuring a smooth transition from appointment booking to the electronic delivery of test reports and prescriptions. This not only streamlines the care process but also enhances the overall patient experience.

Patients today expect the same level of convenience and quality digital experiences they encounter in other industries. As a result, the healthcare sector is shifting from supply-driven systems to patient-centered ones, designed around patients’ preferences, needs, and values. These changes are necessary to enhance patient satisfaction and deliver a more patient-centric healthcare experience.

With Dubai’s fast-evolving healthcare landscape, what unique challenges and opportunities does the digital health ecosystem present to established organisation like yours?

In the dynamic healthcare landscape of Dubai, organisations like ours encounter a blend of distinctive challenges and promising opportunities within the digital health ecosystem. Navigating the ever-evolving landscape of technology and staying current with the latest digital health advancements is a continual challenge. Healthcare providers must also carefully assess which aspects of their infrastructure should be prioritised for digitisation. Prioritisation, clear strategies, and defined desired outcomes are essential before embarking on a digitisation journey.

Safeguarding the security and privacy of the mounting volumes of sensitive patient data, while staying compliant with evolving regulations, is another significant hurdle. The quest for seamless interoperability among diverse digital health solutions remains complex but is integral to providing holistic care and maintaining service continuity.

Conversely, the digital health ecosystem offers compelling opportunities, such as enabling the delivery of enhanced patient care through improved monitoring, diagnosis, and personalised treatments, ultimately leading to better patient outcomes and experiences. The adoption of digital health technologies also enhances efficiency and productivity by automating processes and reducing administrative burdens, allowing healthcare professionals to focus more on patient care. Additionally, it extends our reach, making it easier for patients to connect with healthcare providers, especially in remote areas, thereby widening our organisation’s impact. Moreover, the wealth of data from digital health solutions facilitate informed decision-making, optimising healthcare services and resource allocation.

Furthermore, digital health fosters an environment ripe for innovative research and development, allowing our organisation to leverage data and technology for pioneering advancements in healthcare. In embracing these digital health opportunities, we can assert ourselves as leaders in shaping the future of healthcare in Dubai.

Data-driven healthcare is becoming increasingly prevalent. How is Medcare ensuring the privacy and security of patient data whilst harnessing the benefits of digital health?

In response to the growing prominence of data-driven healthcare, Medcare places paramount importance on safeguarding patient data while capitalising on the advantages of digital health. We have implemented a state-of-the-art IT system designed for both efficiency and speed, ensuring seamless data management and reducing processing time. Additionally, we have implemented Trak Care by Inter Systems, as a service electronic medical record system across four hospitals and 18 medical centers. Utilisation of this system facilitates the smooth flow of information between various hospitals and medical centers located at different sites. This not only streamlines patient care but also maintains comprehensive patient histories, eliminating the need for patients to repeatedly provide their medical histories to different healthcare providers. This approach optimizes long term care management while upholding the privacy and security of patient data, a commitment we hold with the utmost diligence.

To further bolster patient data privacy and security, Medcare employs robust encryption protocols and access controls. Continuous staff training on data security and privacy best practices is an integral part of our approach, fostering a strong culture of data protection. Regular audits and assessments of data security measures are conducted to identify and address potential vulnerabilities. Moreover, maintaining transparency with patients about data usage and obtaining their informed consent is fundamental to fostering trust and cooperation within the digital health ecosystem.

Collaboration is key in the health tech space. Are there any strategic partnerships that Medcare is exploring or has established to bolster its digital health agenda in the UAE?

Collaboration is indeed at the core of our digital health agenda at Medcare, and we’ve been actively forging strategic partnerships to enhance healthcare in the UAE. One recent notable partnership is with Fujifilm, which has introduced cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled diagnostics, imaging, and radiology solutions to the GCC. These advanced AI technologies are tailored to provide precise and swift diagnostics, all while maintaining the highest standards of patient comfort and safety. They equip our medical professionals with the most accurate information available, enabling them to deliver the best possible treatment and care.

Furthermore, Medcare has established collaborations with various healthcare tech and equipment companies, leveraging their expertise to introduce the latest and most advanced solutions to our healthcare ecosystem. These partnerships are pivotal in ensuring that we remain at the forefront of digital health innovation, offering our patients the best and most innovative care available. As we continue to explore and establish these strategic collaborations, our commitment to delivering high quality healthcare services in the UAE remains unwavering.

Lastly, what message would you give to young entrepreneurs and startups looking to innovate in the digital health space within the UAE and especially Dubai?

For aspiring entrepreneurs and startups eager to venture into the digital health sector, particularly within the dynamic healthcare landscape of Dubai and the UAE, it is important to embrace the immense potential offered by this vibrant ecosystem. Dubai is deeply committed to healthcare innovation, providing an ideal environment for translating your ideas into impactful solutions.

Start by understanding the unique healthcare challenges and requirements of Dubai. Tailor your innovations to address these specific needs and engage in collaborations with healthcare providers, regulators, and tech experts to ensure your solutions are closely aligned with clinical realities and patient expectations. Maintain rigorous data privacy and security standards, adhere to regulations, and plan for scalability and sustainability as Dubai’s healthcare market continues to grow. Your innovations can play a pivotal role in shaping the future of healthcare in Dubai and the broader region, so stay determined and innovative on this transformative journey.

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