The quality of healthcare available to patients is one of the most fundamental measures of how developed a society is, and with good reason. It’s an area of human activity that is constantly innovating and evolving to find new cures, develop new therapies, and invent new procedures, so patients get the highest standards of service and attention. However, this eagerness to adopt breakthrough technologies has not always been apparent in the industry’s approach to digital transformation. As recently as 2018, a study found that the healthcare firms were about a decade behind other industries, in the adoption of customer engagement technologies.
Fortunately, the regional industry, in the Middle East, has realized that digitalization is an important enabler, to putting the ‘care’ back in healthcare. The pressures experienced by healthcare providers, during the COVID-19 pandemic, proved to be a catalyst for a sharp increase in digitalization. According to a recent report the Middle East and Africa e-health market is valued at $989 million in 2021 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12.8%, until 2026 a year. The benefits will reflect better access to healthcare, ease of delivery, data-driven analysis, greater standardization and integration, and much more.
Digitalization empowers both patients and healthcare providers
Healthcare is an industry that inherently relies on accuracy and speed, for services to be seen as being of high quality. This could relate to diagnosis, accessibility of records, administrative processing, or personalization of the patient’s experience. Digitalization plays a very crucial role in optimizing these and other factors, for the benefit of both patients and healthcare providers.
For instance, the ability to instantly access a patient’s history can help doctors accurately diagnose their issue, and the medical facility to organize the resources it needs, to service them. AI-enabled detection and analysis is taking such capabilities to the next level, reducing potential errors and ensuring that early signs of a disease are not missed. From the patient’s perspective, digitalization makes their entire experience far more seamless, with appropriate tools filtering through and organizing every detail about the data their interactions with healthcare services have generated in the past, as well as the information that is most relevant currently – from health-related data, to payments, or tertiary services for in-patients.
Some of the primary enhancements that digitalization enables in healthcare include:
- The impact of AI on healthcare: From the next generation of imaging tools, and algorithm-aided diagnosis; to mobility-based access to records and data; the combination of AI analytics and cloud-enabled storage will have multi-faceted effects on healthcare, moving forward.
- Seamless integration, transparency, and communication: As explored earlier, the accuracy, speed of access to data, total transparency, and the ability to share information between stakeholders – including patients – is a powerful enhancement, which digitalization enables in healthcare.
- Standardization of healthcare delivery: One of the most apparent effects of digital transformation, across industries, is the ability to deliver consistently high quality outcomes. This is especially crucial in healthcare, which is an area that is urgent need of democratization – in terms of the best possible quality in services being made available at all price points.
- Remote healthcare: The shortage of skilled medical workers – including doctors, radiologists, and other imaging professionals – is a major bottleneck for the healthcare sector. It limits the services available to patients in underserved areas, as well as the number of patients each healthcare facility can service. Remote, AI, and ML enabled healthcare is an emerging capability, which is set to revolutionize the way healthcare is delivered.
- Enhanced patient experiences: As with every customer-facing industry, Customer Experience (CX) is now a critical measure of success in healthcare as well. With patients sometimes experiencing a high level of stress, providing them with up to the minute and transparent information, and real-time access to 24/7customer service, is vital to their peace of mind. Digitalization enhances the patient’s ability to access information, and have their service requests responded to seamlessly, to a game-changing extent.
Middle East Healthcare is being transformed by digitalization
Digitalization of healthcare in the Middle East is currently occurring at an accelerated pace. The KSA and the UAE are leading the region in digital transformation, across sectors. And this is reflected in the digital transformation of healthcare in the two nations as well. The impact of AI platforms on healthcare workflows is expected to 10% to 15% productivity gains, in just the next two or three years(3). Wearables, and App-based healthcare, are growth areas that are expected to make major inroads into the industry.
In this context, industry players such as the MAST Consulting Group have an important role to play, especially in the integration of healthcare services, and making them accessible from flexible App-based platforms. MAST consulting’s MAS B2B Apps and solutions division is already delivering solutions for workflow management, inventory, addressing regulatory requirements, connectivity tools, and other core business functions, across the healthcare value chain. MAST apps are also compatible with the stringent data collection and management guidelines, healthcare is mandated to conform to – while maintaining a single profile for patients across the UAE, with their full health history and details. MAST Consulting’s solutions are able to digitize, centralize, and secure patient data, in full compliance with Health Authority standards, across the region.
Future-ready Healthcare is the optimal option for all stakeholders
The appetite for innovation, in the Middle East, currently sets the region apart in digitalization; with positive cascading effects apparent in sustainability, people-centric development, resource management, governance, and numerous other aspects of social organization. Areas such as education and healthcare cannot be looked at as ‘services’ alone – because of their massive impact on the standard of living, which a nation or society experiences. In the case of healthcare, this can be a literally lifesaving impact.
As an industry that addresses a basic human need, healthcare needs to – simultaneously – act in the best interest of its customers at all times, while generating the maximum possible profit for the service provider. Recent developments indicate that digitalization is the enabler, which will allow healthcare to not only reconcile these two priorities; but also optimize them at the same time.
About MAST Consulting Group
The USP of MAST Consulting lies in its ability to help businesses from Concept to Realization – all the way from providing a roadmap to businesses for their digital transformation journey to assisting those that require further support by recommending third party vendors and solutions, as well as helping with the implementation of those solutions. The Services division supports the Consulting practice with managed services, resource augmentation services, strategy, marketing, and advanced analytics, across all major industry verticals.
MAST Consulting is a part of the MAST Consulting Group, a UAE-based holding company comprising MAST Consulting, MAS Tech General Trading LLC, and MAST Advisory Services, together offering a gamut of services, from consulting to system integration as well as feasibility advisory.