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by Michael Schelper
Published on November 7, 2018

In an interview with Arab Health’s Leaders in the Spotlight, Michael Schelper talked about how Cerner Middle East is helping to shape health care for the future, and the company's presence at Arab Health 2019 on 28-31 January.

Cerner’s advances in artificial intelligence and population health management services, as well as its innovative motion-sensing technology that can help prevent and proactively manage muscular and skeletal conditions are just some of the innovative technology that the company will showcase at Arab Health 2019.

According to Michael Schelper, Cerner Middle East’s general manager for UAE and Kuwait, as innovation in health care becomes a key trend in both emerging and developed markets, new ways of service provision need to be established. “This is where Cerner can provide the tools, services and visionary leadership in advancing this in an all-encompassing way, and also providing the consumer with platforms to proactively manage his/her life and well-being.”

As general manager for UAE and Kuwait at Cerner Middle East & Africa, what do you think is currently driving the health care industry forward, both in the Middle East and Africa region, and globally?

There are various dynamics that impact the progress in the Middle East and Africa. In the Middle East, we are fortunate to have countries with clear visionary plans that have at their core the health and well-being of the citizens. Africa, on the other hand, is known for creating innovations by utilizing existing technologies and services. Both regions are clearly focused on pushing the boundaries and thus taking innovation forward in all areas of life.

What current trends do you see specifically in the UAE health care industry, and what do you see as the growth areas going forward?

The UAE has one of the highest percentages of smartphone penetration in the world. This also provides a great opportunity to advance the health care space by focusing on the individual consumer. This, in combination with artificial intelligence advancing and being adopted on a broader scale, provides a very interesting opportunity to leapfrog development in due time.

What are the major health care market segments that are likely to expand, and why is this so?

The private sector is ramping up drastically in terms of new facilities (hospitals and clinics) and also in terms of new services (consumer-centric). What’s more, the government is pushing the boundaries further by advancing artificial intelligence that facilitates the remote health consultation.

What, according to you, are some of the practical steps the region can take to improve their national health systems?

We have great leading minds in various fields in the health care landscape, but it feels sometimes to me that we are losing focus of the bigger picture in order to advance a specific entity’s agenda. Aligning on the highest level and cascading this alignment down to the providers in a unified format would enable the various countries to advance so much faster and in turn showcase to the world what would be possible to achieve with an aligned ecosystem.

How important is innovation in health care? What are the technological, medical and strategic innovations that your company brings to the health care arena?

Health care innovation is of utmost importance as we need to serve in a hybrid state the old as well as the new generations effectively. This also means that new ways of service provision need to be established and this is where Cerner can certainly provide the tools, services, and visionary leadership in advancing this in an all-encompassing way, from population health management, over artificial intelligence, and towards providing the consumer with platforms to proactively manage his/her life and well-being.

What new products or innovative technology will you be showcasing at Arab Health 2019?

We are looking forward to sharing innovative motion-sensing technology that can help prevent and proactively manage muscular and skeletal conditions. Our advances in artificial intelligence and population health management services can also be experienced and most importantly, visitors to our stand can learn from thought leaders to collaboratively shape the face of health care for the future.

As a company closely associated with Arab Health for the past several years, how would you evaluate the impact of the event on the health care industry in the MENA region?

Arab Health is a great medium to connect likeminded people in the health care field. We all need to realize that the broader health care vision can only be accomplished if we all work together. A platform like Arab Health is instrumental in achieving this.

What, according to you, are the real benefits and opportunities available to health care and trade professionals to attend Arab Health?

Networking and exchanging with thought leaders in the health care field at Arab Health is key to keeping you at the forefront of health care advancements both regionally and globally.